Trump Signs New North American Trade Pact at G20


As of Friday, Canada's official website had a page dedicated to the agreement, which it called the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement, or CUSMA.

The road to rewrite the North American trade agreement was a "battle", U.S. President Donald Trump said as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto joined him for a signing ceremony on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires.

The USMCA replaces NAFTA, a 1994 trade deal that created free trade zones between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. It was signed almost 25 years after the North American Free Trade Agreement first came into effect.

Mr Pena Nieto, who will be replaced on Saturday with Mexico's newly-elected president, has sold the deal to his people as a victory, saving free trade from a United States president who wanted to see it killed.

He says the new agreement lifts the risk of economic uncertainty that lingers throughout the trade renegotiation process.

"I've been around Trump a lot in terms of talking about China; he believes they are adversarial in terms of their relationship with us". Before signing the deal he continued to refer to as "the New NAFTA", Trudeau told Trump the two should continue to work together to eliminate steel and aluminum tariffs.

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But Trump has argued again this month that those tariffs have fuelled a comeback by the US steel and aluminum industries.

The negotiations were long and at times acrimonious, with Freeland and her delegation learning first-hand what it's like to negotiate with President Donald Trump's administration, in particular his trade emissaries - U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and his deputy, C.J. Mahoney. Trump acknowledged the often hard path during negotiations and praised the outcome.

While Trump hailed the revised trade pact, Trudeau was more measured, saying there was still work to be done and calling on Trump - using his first name - to remove steel and aluminum tariffs the US imposed on Canada and Mexico.

The new version comes after more than a year of negotiations and numerous details were agreed earlier this year - in August between the United States and Mexico and at the end of September between the USA and Canada.

However, the agreement does make some changes to the more controversial "Investor-State Dispute Settlement" powers, which critics said had allowed powerful companies and wealthy investors to invalidate local laws and court decisions through unaccountable arbitration.

Trump expressed optimism about getting the deal blessed by US lawmakers.

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But the United States landscape will shift significantly in January when Democrats take control of the House of Representatives, after winning midterm elections in November.

"As it's now written, Trump's deal won't stop the serious and ongoing harm NAFTA causes for American workers".

When the three countries reached the deal at the end of September, Trump said he was not at all confident of obtaining congressional approval.

US tariffs on steel and aluminum remain in the agreement, something the three sides have been trying to iron out. Canada, however, has refused to limit future exports to the US but has pledged to assist the limiting cheap steel imports from China, Eric Miller, president of Rideau Potomac Strategy Group, told the Washington Post.

In addition to having to be approved by Congress, the USMCA deal will also need to be approved by legislatures in both Canada and Mexico as well.

Matt Blunt, the head of the main lobbying group for GM, Ford and Fiat-Chrysler, applauded the deal, saying it would keep north American automotive manufacturing competitive and included a first-ever provision to address currency manipulation.

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