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A Gathering Crisis: Washington Must Make a Decision

By Eric Farnsworth

It's time to pass USMCA, writes AS/COA's Eric Farnsworth in Latin Trade

Washington faces a gathering crisis and must soon decide: whether to take concrete steps, on a bipartisan basis, to hold leaders accountable and promote the general welfare of U.S. citizens. Time is growing increasingly short, and fundamental U.S. principles and future governance are at stake even as the calendar turns toward the electoral season in 2020.

It’s time to pass USMCA.

You see what I did there?

Trade is never an easy sell in Washington. It should be, because of its undeniable benefits to the American people on economic, social, political, and strategic terms. But powerful interests conspire to promote parochial benefits at the expense of the general welfare. Trade legislation is, in some ways, the ultimate exercise of power politics.

Simply put, passing trade agreements requires presidential leadership. To combat parochial political and economic interests, presidents have had to build support at the macro level while horse-trading at the micro level to get the required number of congressional votes for passage. There is nobody else with the stature or standing to be able to perform this essential role. This pattern always holds, and USMCA is no different.

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