Face-to-face negotiations will continue next week with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin traveling to China. Reports are that the two sides are angling for a deal that can be announced at the end of May. The rhetoric from Lighthizer has been that USMCA will need to be ratified before any other trade deal is complete. Indiana Farm Bureau Director of National Government Relations Bob White doesn’t believe that has to be the case.
“Different terms, different terminology, different things that we’re working on with China, and if that agreement comes then that will be good. The problem with China is we lost that market. How much of that market will we regain when we do reopen trade with China? That has yet to be seen.”
White did say that he agreed with Lighthizer that USMCA does need to get done sooner rather than later.
“I’d like to see it done this Congress because if you don’t get it done by October/November, I mean we’re already starting to see elections and political campaign issues pop up. That is just going to increase as 2019 wears on. You get to the end of 2019 and it’s not done, the political climate is going to be such that I don’t think it’s going to be ratified in 2020.”
There is no word yet on when USMCA will begin to move forward in the House. China is expected to return to the United States for negotiations on May 8th after this round of talks.