09:57 GMT10 July 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Congress must first pass the US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement (USMCA) before focusing on the infrastructure package, US President Donald Trump said in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer.

    "Before we get to infrastructure, it is my strong view that Congress should first pass the important and popular USMCA trade deal," Trump said in the letter on Tuesday.

    Trump added that he looks forward to welcoming both Schumer and Pelosi to the White House with their colleagues to further discuss an infrastructure package.

    Earlier in May, Donald Trump blasted the administration's infrastructure plan, calling it "stupid."

    READ MORE: Trump Calls His Administration's Infrastructure Plan ‘Stupid' — Reports

    The USMCA, which will replace the 1994 NAFTA trade deal, covers auto and agricultural tariffs, intellectual property rights, labour standards, and environmental protections, among other issues.

    The agreement must be ratified by the legislatures or parliament in each of the countries in order to take effect.

    READ MORE: US Reaches Deal With Canada to Lift Aluminium and Steel Tariffs in 48 Hours

    Earlier, Washington and Ottawa issued a joint statement, striking a deal on steel and aluminium tariffs elimination. 

    Commenting on the issue, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau noted that the removal of tariffs was "terrific news"

    Following the announcement, US Vice President Mike Pence said in a statement that he will meet with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa on May 30th, to facilitate the process of ratifying the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.

    In March 2018, Trump introduced 25 per cent tariffs on steel imports and 10 per cent tariffs on aluminium imports by invoking Section 232 of US trade law citing alleged national security concerns. Canada and Mexico fell under the new duties last June and subsequently retaliated by introducing tit-for-tat tariffs on US goods.    


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