Senate Finance Committee Passes USMCA

You Auto Know 01/10/20

The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) passed the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday by a bipartisan vote of 25-3.  The agreement must now be voted on by six other Senate committees, most of which are expected to do so next week.  But a quick Senate passage has been put in jeopardy by today's announcement by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) that she will send articles of impeachment to the Senate.  If the Senate impeachment trial begins soon, as many expect, the final vote on USMCA could be pushed back significantly.

USMCA, an updated version of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), contains stricter "rules of origin" (ROO) for cars, requiring 75 percent of a vehicle's components to be made in North America, up from 62.5 percent in the current NAFTA, and 40-45 percent vehicle content made by workers making at least $16 an hour. There are also more stringent requirements for the use of North American steel and aluminum.


The New Year could also mean renewed congressional determination to rein in the administration's tariff powers.  Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has long expressed an interest in doing so, but reaffirmed his commitment this week, saying "That's been a goal of mine and is still a goal." Section 232 of The Trade Expansion Act of 1962 gave the president authority to impose tariffs for reasons of national security, and was used recently to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum and threaten tariffs on imported autos and parts.


Show Congress the Vehicles on Your Lot Are Not a National Security Threat!


Quotes of the Week

"Regardless of whether or not the period for the Section 232 potential tariffs may have lapsed we know by now that there's sufficient flexibility and discretion in other U.S. trade laws that if President Trump really decided that he wanted to put tariffs on European car exports he would find a way to do so."

            -Chad Brown, Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics (Inside U.S. Trade)

"...I think that there's enough desire in my committee to do something about 232."

            -Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Chairman, Senate Finance Committee (The Hill)

Must Listen

Check out the latest Beltway Talk podcast, featuring Cox Automotive's Charlie Chesbrough for a Year-End Sales Review and preview of what to expect in 2020. 


Friday Funny

Florida Police Respond After Parrot Cries, "Let Me Out!"

When someone in a Florida neighborhood heard chilling cries and the words "Let me out!" they dialed 911.

Little did they know the cries were that of a 40-year-old parrot named Rambo.

After the call, four Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputies pulled up and questioned a man who appeared to be repairing a car in his driveway. The Palm Beach Post reports that when the deputies explained their concerns, the man smiled, then told deputies he'd introduce them to the perpetrator. When he returned with the parrot, the deputies burst out laughing.

The man told officers that he taught Rambo to scream "Let me out!" when he was a kid and Rambo lived in a cage.

PBSO officials could not be reached for more details. The agency did tweet a link to a video Saturday, saying, "Our deputies in Lake Worth Beach came to the help of someone screaming for help. Hilarity ensued."

(Associated Press