Trump signs new trade deal with Canada and Mexico


President Trump, his Mexican counterpart Enrique Pena Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have officially signed the replacement to NAFTA, in the wake of the Trump administration enacting tariffs on steel and aluminum products from Canada and Mexico, which sparked retaliatory tariffs and negotiations with the two countries.

The new agreement requires that 40 percent of cars eventually be made countries that pay autoworkers at least $16 an hour - that is, the USA and Canada and not Mexico - to qualify for duty-free treatment under the trade pact.

But he insisted that the "incredible milestone" would aid U.S. workers, especially in the auto industry, while putting in place "intellectual property protection that will be the envy of nations all around the world".

Since Donald Trump's election in 2016, he has been calling on NAFTA's signatories to renegotiate the deal, in the hopes of reaching a more advantageous agreement.

Likewise, Mexican President Pena Nieto said NAFTA "transformed" Mexico a quarter century ago so that 70 percent of its economy comes from trade.

A side letter to the September agreement showed that Mr Trump preserved the ability to impose threatened 25 per cent global tariffs on autos while largely exempting passenger vehicles, pickup trucks and auto parts from Canada and Mexico.

"Before this deal is sent to Congress for a vote", Sanders said, "it must include strong enforcement mechanisms to increase jobs and wages and all of the riders that benefit big fossil fuel polluters and pharmaceutical companies must be taken out of it".

"It's great for all of our countries", Trump said, on a more optimistic note.

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.

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Trudeau raised the tariff issue with Trump before the three leaders emerged together for the signing ceremony, said officials in the Prime Minister's Office.

The signing ceremony at a packed hotel in Buenos Aires on the sidelines of the G20 summit did not come without a fight.

All three leaders stood at lecturns adorned with the USA presidential seal, with Trump taking the middle position.

Mexico has its own version in Spanish, accentuating its name first. "I will only support this new deal if we can make it a better deal for Wisconsin farmers, manufacturers, businesses and workers".

Friday marked an important deadline for the trade pact. "With the signing of the USMCA there is still more work to be done in Congress to ensure any final agreement stops the outsourcing of jobs to other countries, strengthens Buy America, puts in place real enforcement of labor provisions, and allows the United States to take action on currency manipulation".

But Philip Levy, senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and a trade official in Republican President George W. Bush's White House, says: "President Trump has seriously overhyped this agreement".

USMCA must now be ratified by the U.S. Congress before taking effect - and legislators on both sides of the aisle have already signalled they could give the deal a rough ride.

Mexico's ambassador to the United States, Gerónimo Gutiérrez, told reporters earlier this month that his government expected that there would be "either a solution or a very clear track to a solution" by the time the deal was signed.