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Candidates split over backing Trump's US-Mexico-Canada trade deal

The trade agreement doesn't offer enough environmental protections for some candidates, but others say it's at least an improvement.
Credit: AP
Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by CNN and the Des Moines Register in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

What has become a signature trade deal of President Donald Trump's administration is a conflict point among the Democrats competing to replace the president. 

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said at Tuesday night's Democratic presidential debate at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, that he opposes the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, or USMCA, in part because it "does not incorporate very, very strong principles to significantly lower fossil fuel emissions in the world."

When asked why she backed the deal, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said it was a "modest improvement" over existing agreements and could be a placeholder for future reform.

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Former Vice President Joe Biden said that, as president, he wouldn't push a trade deal that didn't include buy-in from environmentalists and unionists. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar said she backed the deal, as did former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who said it “has been improved. It is not perfect.”