The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, a trade pact that finally appears to have the legislative support needed to pass this year, is a win-win. It replaces the alternately heralded and derided North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, and includes important opportunities for business and projections for workers.
It’s not perfect. Indeed, almost no trade agreement could be, given the various interests at play and the sometimes brutal nature of modern global capitalism. But going without a deal at all between two of the United States’ largest and most important trading partners — Mexico and Canada — was simply not an option.
For those working in Kansas’ agricultural sector, the news couldn’t come soon enough. With farmers buffeted by the ongoing trade conflict with China, ensuring reliable markets to our north and south comes as welcome news.
What’s also important though, is confirmation of the fact that the political process in Washington, D.C., can still work. For all of President Trump‘s bluff and bluster, the process of bringing this trade agreement to fruition was reassuringly old school. After the original agreement was reached, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi negotiated further changes to the deal to make it attractive for Democrats.
In other words, a compromise was reached. Neither side in our increasingly bitter partisan wars wants to admit it, but our system of government literally cannot function without compromise. Both sides have to come together to put the interests of our country first. A cliche? Perhaps. But sometimes cliches are cliches for a reason — they embody longtime, profound truth.
With trade increasingly an issue at the forefront of our public debates (thanks to Trump’s repeated, sometimes factually challenged emphasis), the U.S.-Mexico-China trade deal attained great symbolic importance. Could Democrats reach a deal with Trump? Could his trade representatives make the deals needed without him blowing up the entire process?
Thankfully, the answer to those questions was yes.
With a president more inclined to follow historic norms, the renegotiation of NAFTA may have been a lower key affair. Democrats may have been quicker to approve the deal. It certainly wouldn’t have become involved with the messaging debate surrounding an impeachment trial.
But what’s done is done, and the deal appears to be a good one for all involved.
Congratulations to legislators and President Trump. Now let’s turn, with the same sense of united purpose, to the rest of our country’s agenda.