December 9, 2019 / 3:38 AM / 3 months ago

House Democrats, USTR nearing deal to pass modified USMCA agreement: WSJ

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer testifies before a Senate Finance Committee hearing on "The President's 2019 Trade Policy Agenda and the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement" on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 18, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

(Reuters) - House Democrats and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer are nearing a deal to pass a revised version of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the Wall Street Journal reported late on Sunday, citing people familiar with the matter.

"We are very, very, very close to completion," the newspaper on.wsj.com/2RxoNOr cited an administration official as saying, who suggested the deal could be worked out by Christmas.

The Democrats and U.S. President Donald Trump’s trade negotiator have differences on enforcement of labor rules, according to the report.

The Democrats are reviewing a proposal from the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Journal reported.

The USMCA, signed about a year ago, must be passed by lawmakers in all three countries, including the U.S. Congress.

Democratic lawmakers have held up U.S. ratification over concerns about how labor and environmental provisions would be enforced.

Canada has said it is waiting on ratification in order to move in tandem with the United States. Mexican lawmakers earlier this year approved the deal.

Reporting by Akshay Balan and Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Tom Hogue and Himani Sarkar

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