U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue said Tuesday the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement is "very important for American jobs, American economic growth and American stability in the region."
"I'm very, very pleased with the hard work that we got from [U.S. Trade Representative Robert] Lighthizer, and the [House] Speaker [Nancy Pelosi], and the folks up on the Hill," Donohue told FOX Business' Neil Cavuto in a First on Fox interview. "And we look forward to a vote next week, and then getting on to the Senate."
He also noted the significance of this deal with regard to the ongoing China trade negotiations.
The deal must now be ratified by all three countries. A House vote, delayed as Democrats fought to improve enforcement mechanisms after winning a majority in the chamber in November 2018, is slated for next week. The modifications had delayed congressional approval, raising the possibility that the deal might not be ratified this year since Congress adjourns Dec. 20 for its holiday break, and prompted criticism from President Trump and fellow Republicans.
The USMCA deal was announced on the same day the House Democrats introduced two articles of impeachment against President Trump alleging abuse of power and obstruction of Congress regarding his interactions with Ukraine, touching off a rapid-fire sequence that could result in a momentous floor vote in a matter of days.
Donohue didn't consider the timing to be purposeful, calling it a "coincidence." He said since the House hasn't "had very much to publically vote on ... this is something that is clearly going to carry our economy forward."
"I think that the speaker has been very clear on this – the folks in the Republican Party in the House understand how important this is to them," Donohue said.
USMCA "will be the best and most important trade deal ever made by the USA," President Trump tweeted Tuesday. Vice President Mike Pence said the Democrats' move is a victory for Trump's policy and shows Pelosi and her caucus acquiescing "to the voice of the American people."
The USMCA, which overhauls the Clinton-era North American Free Trade Agreement, known as NAFTA, requires 75 percent of automobile components be manufactured in the United States, Canada and Mexico in order to avoid tariffs, and that 40 percent to 45 percent of automobile parts be made by workers who earn at least $16 an hour by 2023.
FOX Business' Jonathan Garber contributed to this report.