Donald Trump signs trade deal between US, Mexico and Canada replacing 'disastrous' NAFTA agreement
PRESIDENT Trump today signed a huge new trade deal with Canada and Mexico which he dubbed a "colossal victory" for American workers.
The landmark agreement will lead to a major rewrite of trading rules between the three neighboring nations and hopefully make the US economy boom.
Trump labelled the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA) “a colossal victory” for American farmers, manufacturers and other workers.
“For the first time in American history, we have replaced a disastrous trade deal that rewarded outsourcing with a truly fair and reciprocal trade deal that will keep jobs, wealth and growth right here in America,” he said.
“This is something we really put our heart into. It’s probably the number one reason that I decided to lead this crazy life that I’m leading right now, as opposed to that beautiful, simple life of luxury that I lead before this happened,” he added.
The union-backed pact is the result of months of negotiations and replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which essentially eliminated tariffs on most goods traded among the three countries.
It guarantees US farmers greater access to Canada’s agriculture market and puts new e-commerce rules in place.
The deal will, however, leave the current $1.2 trillion in annual US-Mexico-Canada trade flows largely unchanged.
It will also mean a higher percentage of autos be made from parts manufactured in North America and requires at least 40 per cent of vehicle production be done by workers earning at least $16 per hour.
Trump made renegotiating what he called the "nightmare" NAFTA a priority during his 2016 presidential campaign.
"This is a cutting-edge, state-of-the-art agreement that protects, defends, and serves the great people of our country," Trump said in an outdoor signing ceremony at the White House.
"Together we are building a glorious future that is raised, grown, built and made right here in the glorious U.S.A."
Canada and Mexico already represent the top two export markets for US goods.
Together we are building a glorious future that is raised, grown, built and made right here in the glorious U.S.A.
But the new pact, along with the signing of a phase one agreement with China, dials down trade tensions that contributed to slowing economic growth globally.
The leaders of the US, Canada and Mexico signed the deal in late 2018.
Legislation implementing it received overwhelming, bipartisan support in Congress after several months of behind-the-scenes negotiations between Democratic lawmakers and the Trump administration.
Trump made a point of praising Republican legislators for their work in passing the deal but did not mention the key role of Democrats.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who called the trade deal “a victory for America’s workers” when she helped get is past by the Democrat-controlled House, was not invited to the signing ceremony.
Her spokesman, Henry Connelly, addressed the absence of Democrats.
“The White House hasn’t invited House Democrats to their USMCA signing ceremony,” he said Wednesday.
“But we’ll be well represented in the huge changes to the original USMCA draft that Democrats wrested out of the administration on labor, prescription drugs, environment, and enforcement mechanisms.”
Labor unions, including the AFL-CIO, backed the new deal, but environmental groups criticized it for not going far enough to combat climate change.
And Bernie Saunders tonight said the it would be a "disaster for the climate."
The presidential hopeful tweeted: "Trump’s trade deal is a giveaway to the fossil fuel industry and a disaster for the climate.
"As the only leading Democratic candidate to oppose this deal, I pledge to fix it when I am president."
The House voted 385-41 on Dec. 19 to approve the agreement and nearly a month later, the Senate passed it in a bipartisan vote 89-10.
Following Trump’s signature, only Canada will have to ratify the deal to make it effective.
NAFTA, which took effect in 1994 under President Bill Clinton, tore down trade barriers between the three North American countries and commerce between them surged.
But Trump and other critics said NAFTA encouraged factories to leave the United States and relocate south of the border to take advantage of low-wage Mexican labor.
Trump threatened to leave NAFTA if he couldn't get a better deal, creating uncertainty over regional trade.
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