By RICARDO CASTILLO
Expectations in Mexico grew high on Tuesday, Jan. 14, after U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the vote on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) could come as early as “this week.” But at the same time in Mexico, everyone is keeping mum, hoping that the USMCA – a commercial and nonpolitical treaty – is shoved out of the way before all impeachment hell breaks loose at the U.S. Senate.
And, indeed, on Wednesday, Jan. 15, the Democratic Party filed its impeachment articles for U.S. President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi went as far as appointing the seven managers who will lead the proceedings. This, too, helped the USMCA move one step forward to approval in the United States.
The treaty has already been ratified by Mexico, not yet been to vote in the Canadian Parliament, and, of course, on Jan. 7, the Democrats voiced that they are all for the continuity of the now-old North American Free Trade Agreement. Yet this is an unusual tango that takes three to dance, and surely once the United States approves it, Canada will follow suit.
Also on Wednesday, Jan 15, the Senate announced the approval of all the committees involved with the USMCA, which clears the way for the vote, which will most certainly be approved by a majority.
McConnell forecast Tuesday, Jan. 14, that “it seems we’ll be able to process the USMCA here at the Senate this week.”
”The trade agreement will be good news for the Senate and the nation,” he added.
But as of this writing, no official announcement on the vote has been made, since all of the attention, as expected, was sidetracked by the impeachment announcement. Still, vote confirmation could come at any time.
Meanwhile in Mexico, the top negotiator for the USMCA (T-MEC, in Spanish), Jesús Seade, has been touting the deal in some public appearances as “pan comido” (“eaten bread”), which is the terms Mexicans use to mean a done deal.
The problem, as it was a couple of day ago, continues to be when.