Business groups to lobby for new North America trade deal during August recess

Business groups to lobby for new North America trade deal during August recess
© Greg Nash

Industry associations signaled Thursday they plan to use the upcoming August recess to increase pressure on lawmakers to pass a revised North American trade agreement.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Thomas Donohue led a meeting of top industry groups Thursday to discuss the proposed United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Donohue said that the group – which sent a letter with 600 signatures to members of Congress on Tuesday – plans to "ramp things up" during the monthlong August recess.

“It’s much more effective to catch these guys and gals at home,” he said at a press conference on Thursday.


The Chamber head said he plans to increase grass-roots efforts and target key districts and states “to get lawmakers to yes.”

“We also stand ready to give political cover to vulnerable candidates who are up for reelection,” Donohue said, adding that if members don’t vote for the deal, they will hear about it from voters. 

Matt Shay, CEO of the National Retail Federation; Steve Caldeira, CEO of the Household & Commercial Products Association and Donna Harman, CEO of the American Forest & Paper Association, as well as roughly 15 other CEOs, participated in the meeting.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpWinners and losers from the South Carolina debate Five takeaways from the Democratic debate Democrats duke it out in most negative debate so far MORE signed the revised trade deal in November, setting off a six-month timeline for Congress to take up the pact. Trump has given his required 30-day notice that he intends to submit the deal to Congress.

Donohue said that the Chamber and its coalition partners have held more than a 1,000 meetings with members and their staff so far this year on the deal.

“The members of the Congress need some positive things to vote on to go home and put themselves in a healthy position for a competitive election,” Donohue said.