Canada and USA reach free trade deal with Mexico

05 October, 2018, 23:04 | Author: Eric Barnett
  • NAFTA talks

But it still faces a lengthy path to congressional approval after serving for two decades as a political football for American manufacturing woes.

"That's really a lot better than the alternative", he said.

But he noted that the agreement would need to be ratified by Congress, a step that could be affected by the outcome of the fall elections as Democrats seek to regain majorities in the House and Senate.

Energy and equipment manufacturing industry representatives are applauding a new trade agreement announced by the White House on October 1.

Any US job gains are likely years away, but the deal provides Trump with a victory that he can tout at campaign rallies over the next month on behalf of fellow Republicans running in the November 6 congressional elections.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday that his country was in a more stable place now that it had completed the negotiations.

Trudeau says the deal needed to be fair and level the playing field given that one trading partner is 10 times larger. Analysts had warned the tariffs threatened to curtail economic growth and the creation of new jobs across the region, although Trump said the USMCA deal would not have been done without them. Trump acknowledged the relationship did get "a little bit testy" but that the trade deal has smoothed over their differences. Pierre Lampron, president of Dairy Farmers of Canada, said in a statement.

Trump justified the moves by arguing that the imports posed a threat to USA national security.

In that fiery press conference last week, Trump cast serious doubt on the fate of NAFTA, insulting the Canadian negotiating team, and vowing that even if a trilateral deal is struck, it won't be called NAFTA, because he's "never liked it".

In fact, the US has always been a manufacturing powerhouse and by some projections - made before he took office - is expected to be No. 1 in 2020.

He soon found himself in Ottawa, a critical part of a full-court press to get an agreement done before the Sunday midnight deadline imposed by the U.S. Congress to get the deal fast-tracked and voted on by December 1, ahead of a new incoming Mexican government.

Forces within the USTR office - including Lighthizer himself - were determined to wear Canada down on the issue of the dispute resolution mechanisms embedded in the old NAFTA. It also comes ahead of the U.S. midterm elections next month, which could be challenging for the president.

Japan managed to halt the threat of US auto tariffs by reluctantly agreeing last month to bilateral trade talks with the United States.

Concessions made on dairy mean that the United States will be allowed the export more dairy products to Canada, and that means that Canadian farmers will be producing less, as the quota allotments in our supply management system say how much product farmers are allowed to produce and sell. Canada also kept a NAFTA dispute-resolution process that the US wanted to jettison. Under the revamped version, Seoul submitted to quotas on its steel and aluminum exports to the United States and modestly opened South Korea's auto market to US automakers, among other things.

Mexican foreign secretary Luis Videgaray said: "It's a good night for Mexico and for North America".

"The number one export industry in the country is the auto industry", he said, adding that Trump's threat to impose 25 percent tariffs on Canadian automobiles and parts was also off the table. But it keeps the former North American Free Trade Agreement dispute-resolution process that the USA wanted to jettison. "Retaining a trade agreement for North America will help ensure the US energy revolution continues into the future".

Trudeau repeatedly made the point that he had managed to preserve the protected domestic market, which some US interest groups said should be scrapped.

A deal seemed imminent, worrying those within the USTR who were convinced they weren't yet done, said the source. U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) offered praise to U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer, saying, "I appreciate United States Trade Representative Lighthizer's sustained efforts to address some of these concerns throughout this renegotiation", with an eye to reducing outsourcing incentives.

"As we review the agreement text, we will be looking to ensure that this deal opens markets, raises standards, provides enforcement and modernises trade rules so that manufacturers across the United States can grow our economy". One letter promises Canada will be exempt from any future US tariffs imposed on automobiles and auto parts as a matter of national security.

He said the new deal was "much more reciprocal" than Nafta, which he described as "perhaps the worst trade deal ever made".

In regard to Beijing, Kantor said, "I don't think we can use the same hammer".

"We fail to see how this deal can be good for the 220,000 Canadian families that depend on dairy for their livelihood", according to the group.

"The bar for supporting a new NAFTA will be high".


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