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USMCA deal: New trade agreement could address Tijuana sewage spills in San Diego's South Bay

Posted at 5:49 AM, Dec 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-12 13:37:12-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- An update to the original North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) reportedly includes funding to help address the frequent sewage spills in Tijuana that contaminate beaches in San Diego’s South Bay.

On Tuesday, House Democrats and the Trump administration finally reached a deal on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. The trade pact is being touted as a revamped and improved version of NAFTA, which has been in place since 1994.

Part of the USMCA will include $300 million for Tijuana River Valley pollution mitigation, according to the White House. The new deal specifically called for “a new authorization of the North American Development Bank and funding for EPA grants under the Border Water Infrastructure Program to address pollution on the U.S.-Mexico border.”

In a statement sent to 10News, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said the deal would be a big boost for the San Diego region.

“We’ve been pushing for this modernized trade agreement and now it’s here, in a way that sets up San Diego to win big. More free trade and less pollution at the border -- it’s what San Diego needs and it looks like it’s what San Diego is going to get. I’d like to recognize our bipartisan partners, including the Administration and local leaders, and I’ll be working closely with our congressional delegation to get this deal across the finish line,” Faulconer said.

-- San Diego officials call for federal government action in Tijuana River Valley
-- New state of emergency declared over Tijuana River Valley sewage

According to the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, trade between Mexico and San Diego has fostered a $2.5 billion supply chain and more than 100,000 jobs. Annual trade between California and Mexico is valued at roughly $73 billion.

National and local business leaders have called for the deal's ratification since the three countries agreed to it last year. To date, only the Mexican legislature has ratified the deal. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said the country would support the amended trade deal and representatives of his government would sign it Tuesday.

In a tweet, President Trump said of the agreement: “America’s great USMCA Trade Bill is looking good. It will be the best and most important trade deal ever made by the USA. Good for everybody - Farmers, Manufacturers, Energy, Unions - tremendous support. Importantly, we will finally end our Country’s worst Trade Deal, NAFTA!”

House Democrats are now expected to vote for the deal's ratification and sent it to the Republican-controlled Senate.

City News Service contributed to this report.