Trudeau Calls On Trump to Remove Tariffs at USMCA Signing Ceremony

Trudeau Calls On Trump to Remove Tariffs at USMCA Signing Ceremony

Trudeau Calls On Trump to Remove Tariffs at USMCA Signing Ceremony

US President Donald Trump and leaders from Canada and Mexico have signed the successor to the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta).

There's New York, New York, the proverbial "city so nice they named it twice", but it's debatable whether the trade deal that Canada, Mexico and the United States signed Friday at the G20 summit will earn similar repetition. But on Friday he put out a statement saying labor and environmental protections in the agreement "are too weak" and Congress will work to strengthen them.

Trump: "I look forward to working with members of Congress and the USMCA partners - and I have to say, it's been so well reviewed, I don't expect to have very much of a problem - to ensure the complete implementation of our agreement".

NAFTA was signed by Canada, Mexico, and the United States in 1993 and came into force in 1994, during the presidency of Bill Clinton.

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

Trump signed the agreement with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, on his last day in office as Mexico's leader.

Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky of IL, for one, said ahead of the signing that it does "not do almost enough to raise wages for workers, lower costs for healthcare consumers, or protect the environment", and that barring major changes, the deal "will result in more broken promises by Donald Trump to American workers". "Our shared interests, prosperity and security demand it", he added.

Mr Trump hailed a political victory, having lamented the "terrible" North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) since the early days of his presidential run.

Lighthizer said the pact was negotiated from the beginning to be a bipartisan agreement. Each country's legislature still must approve. Coming into this G-20, he faces a series of diplomatic challenges - most notably whether he can strike an agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping to ease trade tensions that have rattled financial markets.

Among other things, the USMCA increased from 62.5 percent to 75 percent the level of North American parts that must go into vehicles produced in the region to qualify for tariff-free treatment.

November 30's signing potentially ends a big source of irritation for the USA administration as it pivots to a much bigger trade fight with China that threatens the global economy.

"One, they don't want to be seen as backing down to Donald Trump, so it's a face-saving thing", Moore said.

Trump heralded it, but old habits die hard, and United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer referred to the deal as NAFTA later that day.

But other changes might not be so easy. "But what isn't in it yet is enough enforcement reassurances regarding provisions related to workers and the environment".

USMCA will govern more than $1tn worth of trade between the countries.

The deal will also need approval of the House, which transfers to Democratic control in January. White House officials have expressed optimism that the new wage requirement, as well as a provision addressing Mexican workers' rights would bring Democrats on board. Lawmakers in both parties have called on Trump to at least avoid the young heir apparent as punishment.

This follows the President's announcement in October that a deal had been reached.

In a speech on Thursday, Warren said the agreement "won't stop outsourcing, it won't raise wages, and it won't create jobs".

Strengthening the enforcement language is something that could be achieved by tweaking the legislation without going back to the negotiating table.

Mexico also agreed to continue to recognize US auto safety standards, unless Mexican regulators conclude they are inferior to their own standards.

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