Potential movement on trade agreements was being circulated in Washington, D.C. for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and in Bejing for the long-awaited "phase one" agreement with China.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday released a statement regarding progress on the USMCA, saying discussions between House Democrats and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer are ongoing “to address the concerns of America’s working families.”
“House Democrats have insisted that hard-working Americans need more from the USMCA than just the same broken NAFTA with better language but no real enforcement,” Pelosi said. “We are within range of a substantially improved agreement for America’s workers. Now, we need to see our progress in writing from the Trade Representative for final review.”
Earlier in the day, President Trump told reporters at the White House that the USMCA has been “sitting on Nancy Pelosi’s desk.”
“She’s incapable of moving it, it looks like she can’t – everybody knows it’s a great deal, she knows it’s a great deal, she said it,” Trump said. “She keeps saying she wants to get it done but we’re talking about many, many months, sitting on her desk – no votes.”
The president suggested if action was not taken soon, Canada and Mexico may go back on the agreement, which he said would be Pelosi’s fault.
As for a trade deal with China, the country's vice premier, Liu He, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Lighthizer held a phone call Tuesday on issues tied to a phase one deal, according to China's commerce ministry.
The two sides also discussed core issues of concern and reached consensus on resolving relevant problems. The conversation also included Commerce Minister Zhong Shan, central bank Governor Yi Gang and vice chairman of the economic planning agency, Ning Jizhe. Word of the phone conversation followed a report that expressed concerns that a deal may not be agreed on before the end of the year.
The trade war with China is now in its 16th month.