An earlier version of this story misstated the date of President Trump’s State of the Union speech.
President Donald Trump told the state Tuesday night that his trade policies are helping reestablish American automobile and other manufacturing jobs and asked Congress to give him more unilateral authority to impose trade remedies on other nations.
In his State of the Union address, Trump said the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement rectifies that a”historic blunder” which led to the migration of good-paying jobs to Mexico and encouraged lawmakers to approve the U.S.-Mexico-Canada replacement.
The USMCA will”deliver for American workers like they have not had delivered for a long time,” Trump said in the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. “I expect you can pass USMCA into law, so we can bring back our manufacturing jobs in even greater numbers, expand American agriculture, protect intellectual property and make sure that more cars are proudly stamped with our four amazing words,’Made in the USA.'”
Support for USMCA is lukewarm thus much and experts are divided about whether Congress will eventually approve it.
“Wages for autoworkers have had a 25 percent pay cut in recent decades. This must change,” UAW President Gary Jones said in a statement after the speech. “Let us restore the American worker as a priority in the laws, commerce arrangements and the inherent values we all cherish. Our challenge will be to restore the American Dream. Because American workers have spent in the usa and now they seem to Washington to invest in U.S.!”
Tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese products, and on imported steel and aluminum, are damaging some American businesses, but Trump reported the responsibilities have brought China to the negotiating table, in which the U.S. is insisting on an end to unfair trade practices and more balanced transaction to protect U.S. workers.
Trump encouraged Congress to pass on the Reciprocal Trade Act, introduced by Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., that might provide the president broad new power to increase tariffs to coincide with the degree of high tariffs on U.S. products in different nations.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, has already dismissed the idea, which is expected to gain little support. Grassley and other Republicans support legislation introduced that would rein in Trump’s capability to impose tariffs for national security reasons, because he did steel and is threatening to do with light vehicles.