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“Biden’s Bet: Can A Trade Deal Help Trump—And Both Sides Win?

Democratic aides working with President Joe Biden are scrambling to finalize a new trade agreement that some members of the party fear could be used to help re-elect Donald Trump in 2024. The deal, which the Biden administration is pushing ahead with, is known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). It would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and bring new labor and environmental safeguards to the three countries involved. But some Democrats are worried that the USMCA could provide a political boost to Trump if he decides to run for president again in 2024. The agreement could be used to support his argument that unions and environmentalists don’t need to worry about job losses, nor environmental degradation, due to offshoring, since the USMCA includes regards to labor and environmental standards. In order to prevent this, the Biden administration is currently working to make the agreement more progressive. They are negotiating with the other two countries to add more labor protections, strengthen environmental statutes, and make sure that workers have the right to collective bargaining, and can be unionized. The administration’s goal is to make the agreement more palatable for Democrats, in the hope that they can support it without worrying about it helping Trump get re-elected. However, the Biden team must be careful not to go too far with the changes they make, as that could put the agreement at risk of not getting approved by Congress. The administration is still in talks with the other two countries, and until a final agreement is reached, any changes they make are subject to disagreement from one or more of the countries involved. This means that the final agreement may be one that few people are completely happy with, but that all parties can live with. The Biden team’s challenge will be to make the agreement as progressive as possible while also ensuring that it is accepted by all the countries involved and that Congress approves it. If they can do that, then they may have avoided providing Trump with a valuable talking point that he could use to get re-elected in 2024.