USMCA: Trump Signs New Trade Agreement With Mexico And Canada

Andrew Cummings
November 30, 2018

Standing between Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto, Mr Trump said: "As part of our agreement, the United States will be able to lock in our market access to Canada and Mexico, and greatly expand our cultural exports - something we've been wanting to do for many years".

According to Trump, all sides will benefit from the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement or USMCA which he said "is probably the largest trade deal ever made".

'The Prime Minister and the President agreed that the new trade agreement between Canada, the United States and Mexico would enhance North American competitiveness, ' his office said of the call.

"This has been a battle, and battles sometimes make great friendships", Trump said at the start of the signing ceremony.

President Donald Trump Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau right and Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Neto left participate in the USMCA signing ceremony Friday Nov. 30 2018 in Buenos Aires Argentina

There is more work to be done, Trudeau said, calling the recent announcement that General Motors will close plants in Canada and the USA "a heavy blow".

The USMCA will also need to be ratified by the legislatures of Canada and Mexico. After the signing, US trade chief Robert Lighthizer told reporters that negotiations are ongoing but that they see the tariffs as successful policy, CBC reported.

USA tariffs on steel and aluminum remain in place, but a Canadian official said an advantage to signing onto the agreement now is an auto side letter exempting Canada of potential tariffs on exports of up to 2.6 million vehicles - well above current levels.

He also claimed the USMCA - as he named the replacement for NAFTA - would bring back US auto jobs and was 'an fantastic deal for our farmers'.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland speaks to media on the roof of the Panamericano Hotel in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on November 29, 2018.

There is no formal meeting between Trump and Trudeau on either leader's schedule for the Friday and Saturday summit.

"We have worked hard on this agreement", Trump said.

US tariffs on steel and aluminum remain in the agreement, something the three sides have been trying to iron out.

Friday also marks an important deadline for the revamped version of NAFTA. 'The fact that this is an agreement in three languages adds to the level of technical complexity and it is on that level that we are just being sure that all the Is are dotted and all the Ts are crossed'.

He described General Motors' plant closures that had hit thousands of USA and Canadian families as a "heavy blow".

With a new deal on the table that's supposed to represent a new era of tariff-free trade, all three countries have been working on resolving the standoff before Friday.

Mr Trudeau added that "the benefits of free trade must be broadly and fairly shared", before criticising U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminium.

Other reports by iNewsToday