US, Canada, Mexico sign trade deal to replace NAFTA after bickering

US, Canada, Mexico sign trade deal to replace NAFTA after bickering

Throughout the entire negotiation process, Freeland says Canada's objectives always remained clear: "defend Canadians' interests, fight for Canadian jobs and living standards, and uphold Canadian values within an agreement that is mutually beneficial for all three countries".

Within hours of the signing, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said the deal must have stronger labour and environmental protections in order to get majority support in Congress and "must prove to be a net benefit to middle-class families and working people". "This is a model agreement that changes the trade landscape forever".

Friday marked an important deadline for the trade pact because a new Mexican president takes over Saturday who might not honour the tentative deal struck by his predecessor.

His government is officially calling the pact the Canada-US-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA).

The biggest changes target the auto industry.

Trump has railed about factory jobs lost to Mexico and the US trade deficit with its southern neighbor - two hot-button issues that vexed relations with Nieto.

"This has been a battle, and battles sometimes make great friendships, so it's really terrific", Trump said, before lining up next to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and outgoing Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to sign three copies of the deal - Trump using a black marker for his signature scrawl.

Trump acknowledged that Friday was Pena Nieto's last day in office and congratulated him on the achievement of signing on to the deal. Trump acknowledged the often hard path during negotiations and praised the outcome.

HORSLEY: He just referred to it as the new North American Free Trade Agreement. Lawmakers in the US have already signalled they don't expect to deal with the USMCA until after the new Congress is sworn in early next year. The trade deal includes reforms to Canada's controversial dairy pricing system and some additional market access - key objectives of the US dairy sector.

Trump expressed optimism about getting the deal blessed by USA lawmakers. "It's been so well reviewed I don't expect to have much of a problem".

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It will be a while, however, before the agreement can take effect as lawmakers from all three countries must approve the USCMA. The three nations trade more than $1 trillion in goods annually.

Pena Nieto also said the new agreement provides improved protection of workers' rights and the environment.

With the signing, "the whole region becomes a good basis to invest in the vehicle industry", Jesus Seade, the NAFTA negotiator for Lopez Obrador, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television on Thursday night.

Trump faces a series of diplomatic challenges over the weekend, most notably whether he can strike an agreement with Xi.

A vote in Congress probably won't happen before next March or April and could possibly be delayed as late as next fall, said Ujczo, who works for the law firm of Dickinson Wright and closely followed trade talks of the three countries.

Trump has slapped tariffs on the European Union, pulled the USA out of the landmark Paris Climate Accord and the Iran nuclear deal and suggested he might be willing to pull the US out of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation if member countries don't significantly boost their defence spending.

Kushner says there's a "strong level of trust" between the US and Mexico, despite news reports citing clashes between the neighbors.

The USMCA replaces NAFTA, a pact Trump roundly criticized during his 2016 presidential campaign, terming it the worst trade deal in history and blaming it for the loss of American manufacturing jobs since it went into effect in 1994.

Trudeau pressed for a resolution to the tariff spat. General Motors' announcement this week seems to cast some suspicion on that, and Prime Minister Trudeau, in particular, said the GM announcement is all the more reason to resolve the friction over steel and aluminum tariffs.

But Trump publicly announced his decision to effectively give the prince a pass in the name of "America First", making vastly exaggerated claims of Saudi military contracts and investments in the United States. The foremost allow exclusions from any USA auto tariffs up to a certain quota that's set well above current Canadian and Mexican auto production.

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