MEXICO CITY—Mexico’s Senate voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to ratify a new free trade agreement with the United States and Canada, making it the first of the three countries to gain legislative approval.
Mexico’s upper chamber voted 114 to four with three abstentions in favour of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. U.S. President Donald Trump had demanded a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement that it will replace.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said in a recorded message that the vote was “very good news.”
“It means foreign investment in Mexico, it means jobs in Mexico, it means guaranteeing trade of the merchandise that we produce in the United States,” he said.
Mexico’s economy ministry in a statement said that with the approval “Mexico sends a clear message in favour of an open economy and of deepening its economic integration in the region.”
Mexican lawmakers had already executed a series of labour reforms that the U.S. had demanded.
Sen. Ricardo Monreal, leader of the governing party in the Senate, said the vote was “an important step to diminish the existing uncertainty for North American trade.”
The treaty is still awaiting consideration by lawmakers in the United States and Canada.
Ratification of the agreement still faces some opposition in the Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives.
On May 30, the same day that Mexico’s government formally presented the USMCA agreement to its Senate, Trump announced via Twitter that he would begin imposing escalating tariffs on all Mexican imports unless Mexico slowed the flow of Central American migrants to their shared border.
Days of negotiations averted the tariffs and Mexico is implementing measures to lower the number of migrants crossing its territory.