Top Stories
Top Stories
Politics

GOP Sen. Pat Toomey: Congress may be able to fix the 'flaws' in Trump's new NAFTA deal

Key Points
  • Toomey voices some concerns about President Trump's new deal to replace the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement.
  • "It seems to me a modest step backwards from the point of view of a free trader," says the Pennsylvania Republican.
  • But Toomey thinks Congress may be able to use the implementing legislation to address some of what he considers "flaws" in the deal.
VIDEO3:3103:31
Sen. Pat Toomey on bank regulations and new NAFTA replacement

Republican Sen. Pat Toomey on Tuesday voiced some concerns about President Donald Trump's new deal to replace the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement.

"It seems to me a modest step backwards from the point of view of a free trader," Toomey told CNBC's "Squawk Box."  "But there's a possibility that we could address some of these what I consider flaws in the implementing legislation that Congress has to pass."

The Pennsylvania senator said he dislikes the new agreement's 16-year "sunset" clause, or expiration date, which also calls for the three sides to meet every six years to renew it. The U.S. wanted a five-year sunset.

"I don't like the government mandating wage rates, and putting quotas on imported vehicles [either]," added Toomey, a member of the Senate Banking and Finance committees.

On Sunday, just before a midnight deadline and after a protracted holdout, Canada ended up joining the U.S. and Mexico in a deal to supplant NAFTA, called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement or USMCA for short.

Toomey said there are also positive changes in the new trilateral pact.

First and foremost, he said is "relief that we're not going to descend into a full-blown trade war with our nearest neighbors and biggest trading partners."

He also cited as "constructive" new protections around intellectual property for digital technology and financial services.

"We've got to study the details," said Toomey, a senator since 2011 and a three-term congressman before that.

However, Toomey said he thinks the "biggest changes are actually changes that diminish the free trade that NAFTA has permitted" over about a quarter century.

The White House was not immediately available for comment.

Before the end of November, Trump and the leaders of Canada and Mexico are expected to sign the new USMCA, which then goes to Capitol Hill for approval.

Sign Up for Our Newsletter Morning Squawk

CNBC's before the bell news roundup
Get this delivered to your inbox, and more info about about our products and services.
By signing up for newsletters, you are agreeing to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.