Biden aides scramble on trade pact some Democrats fear could help Trump

Biden aides are scrambling to assess and determine the best way forward on the proposed United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) that President Trump touted as a replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which Democratic critics feared could provide a boon to President Trump in November.

The USMCA, which includes labor and environmental provisions, was signed by Trump in 2018, hailed as a major update of NAFTA. Biden has praised the USMCA, but it is not yet implemented and faces opposition from many Democrats in Congress who want stronger labor and environmental provisions, among other changes.

As a result, Biden aides are tasked with assessing the current status of USMCA in Congress and potential paths for moving forward. In one potential scenario, Biden could select an executive route to submit the agreement to Congress and entice support from legislatures. He could also use his position to strongarm leaders in Canada and Mexico to accept revised stipulations before entry, otherwise the pact could crumble and leave Biden struggling to pass his own international trade deal.

At the same time, some supporters of the USMCA have become concerned that if Biden delays ratification, Trump could reach a deal before the end of his term, which could be a major win for the president.

Despite all the uncertainty, Biden has publicly expressed his commitment to implementing the USMCA and has urged Congress to pass it. As a result, Biden and his aides are likely weighing all possible scenarios and options as the November election quickly approaches.