US, Mexico and Canada sign new USMCA trade deal

US, Mexico and Canada sign new USMCA trade deal

US, Mexico and Canada sign new USMCA trade deal

Inked by the North American leaders on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, the deal, formally called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) in the US, comes after more than a year of negotiations.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined U.S. President Donald Trump and outgoing Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto at a hotel to formally sign the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

However, Trump and U.S. Trade Representative Lightizer said they were confident the agreement would pass Congress. The revised pact, which comes after a long, hard negotiation, won't replace NAFTA until it's been approved by the legislatures of all three countries.

As The Globe and Mail reported previously, the United States has been pressing Mexico behind the scenes to allow the Trump administration to decide how much production from each company would be protected in the event of future tariffs. "We'll see what happens".

It will require approval from each country's legislature, and in the U.S., Democrats in Congress, in particular, have voiced concerns about its labor and environmental protections.

Trump, who made a business out of branding, has expressed that he likes the USMCA name, saying it has a "good ring to it" when he announced the new name on October 1.

While certainly a large trade deal, the USMCA is smaller than the Trans-Pacific Partnership was before Trump pulled out of it.

Trump has slapped tariffs on the European Union, pulled the US out of the landmark Paris Climate Accord and the Iran nuclear deal and suggested he might be willing to pull the USA out of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation if member countries don't significantly boost their defense spending.

For the record, the document's preamble refers to an "Agreement between the United States of America, the United Mexican States and Canada".

Congress is likely to wait to vote on the deal until the United States International Trade Commission releases a report on the economic impact. This is estimated to double USA exports of grain to Canada.

The biggest changes target the auto industry.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), the only out lesbian in the U.S. Senate, said in a statement she opposed NAFTA on the basis that it cost her state manufacturing jobs and would only back the new agreement if it helps Wisconsin workers.

The US National Retail Federation welcomed the signing of the new agreement and urged the US Government to remove steel and aluminum tariffs from Canada and Mexico. Trudeau, however, was much more blunt, calling the GM job losses a "heavy blow".

On his last day in office, Pena Nieto said the agreement advances the countries toward greater integration.

One looming question is whether Trump will have a run-in with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman amid global dismay over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Trump gathered with the leaders for a traditional group photo, but did not appear to acknowledge Putin or the crown prince as he walked by. The U.S. previously had reached agreement with Mexico on a successor to NAFTA, which Mr. Trump had criticized as outdated and harmful to American interests. The official spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the crown prince's situation. "We might [later], but we had none", the president told reporters. "We might, but we had none".

"Based on the fact that the ships and sailors have not been returned to Ukraine from Russian Federation, I have decided it would be best for all parties concerned to cancel my previously scheduled meeting in Argentina with President Vladimir Putin".

His chief White House spokeswoman made the same point earlier Friday.

"This is a model agreement that changes the trade landscape forever", Trump said.

While many in the US manufacturing and agricultural industries applauded the deal, they warned that the administration's failure to remove the tariffs enacted during the trade dispute will hamper any benefits they would see from the deal. Trump has denied any wrongdoing. "The importance of this new deal to Nebraska can not be overstated". He added: "Love can't be forced".

"President Trump has seriously overhyped this agreement".

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