Trump to sign USMCA amid ongoing impeachment trial

The president had assailed NAFTA as "one of the worst trade deals ever made."

President Donald Trump on Wednesday is set to celebrate his biggest legislative achievement since Democrats took control of the House in 2018 with the signing of a revised trade agreement with Mexico and Canada.

The signing, which comes amid the ongoing impeachment trial in the Senate, represents the second major achievement for Trump’s trade agenda this month, coming on the heels of the signing of a "Phase One" trade agreement with China.

In his 2016 bid for the White House, then-candidate Trump relentlessly assailed the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, as "one of the worst trade deals ever made" and vowed to negotiate a better deal if elected president.

With the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, the president is delivering on that campaign promise.

The USMCA replaces NAFTA by revamping the 25-year-old trade agreement with provisions aimed at strengthening the U.S. auto manufacturing industry, improving labor standards enforcement and increasing market access for American dairy farmers, among other changes.

The agreement represents a rare bipartisan achievement, with both Republicans and Democrats hailing it as a win for the American worker.

Even as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi handed a political victory to the president by approving the deal, she sought to credit Democrat negotiators with making the deal "infinitely better" over months of negotiations with the administration.

Pelosi announced that the final agreement had been reached with the White House in December, on the same day the Democrats also formally unveiled two articles of impeachment against the president, something she acknowledged at the time was "not a coincidence."

The president, reacting at the time, called USMCA the "silver lining" of impeachment.

"Without the impeachment, they would have never approved it, in my opinion. The impeachment is the reason they approved it," Trump said on Dec. 10.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the agreement by an overwhelming 385-41 vote in December and the Senate followed suit with an 89-10 vote earlier this month, sending the agreement to the president's desk for signature.

Mexico has also ratified the agreement and Canada is expected to follow suit in the weeks ahead.

Even as the ongoing trial threatens to overshadow the president’s signing ceremony, the White House has organized a major press event on the South Lawn of the White House that is set to be attended by farmers, U.S. manufacturers and members of Congress. The following day, the president is set to take his USMCA victory lap on tour with a visit to a manufacturing facility in Michigan.