The trade deal between the United States, Canada and Mexico is crucial for future trade agreements and needs to be "put on the books," Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., told CNBC on Thursday.
In fact, it was that deal — and not China negotiations — that was the main focus of a meeting between lawmakers and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Thursday. "The priority is to get Mexico-Canada done," said Reed, co-chair of the Bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, the group that met with Lighthizer.
The trade agreement between the three nations sets the stage for future deals, Reed said on "Power Lunch."
It has "gold-standard type of language" that can be applied to agreements with China and other countries, he said. "Getting this on the books is really critical for the future trade negotiations for America."
The leaders of the three nations signed a revised North American trade pact — known as USMCA — in November. It replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement, but it still needs to be approved by both chambers of Congress before it can go into effect. It also needs to be ratified by lawmakers in Mexico and Canada.
"If we don't pass it, not only is it going to hurt American industry but Canada and Mexico will see a significant impact — potentially recession type of results," Reed said.