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U.S. Senate approves new version of North American free trade agreement

National flags representing Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. are lit by stage lights at the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, renegotiations, in Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017. Senators on Capitol Hill have finally approved the latest version of North America's free trade pact. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Marco Ugarte

WASHINGTON — Senators on Capitol Hill have finally approved the latest version of North America’s free trade pact.

The implementation bill for the long-awaited U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement passed on a vote of 89-10.

That means it now needs only the signature of President Donald Trump to be fully approved in the United States.

Canada itself has yet to ratify the agreement, a process that’s expected to begin shortly after MPs return to the House of Commons Jan. 27.

Officials in the Prime Minister’s Office say the Canadian implementation bill is ready and waiting to be introduced in Parliament.

The deal was reached in late 2018, but ratification in the U.S. was delayed while congressional Democrats negotiated tougher enforcement tools for the deal’s labour and environmental provisions.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2020.

The Canadian Press