Canada signs onto new NAFTA trade deal on sidelines of G20 summit
01 December, 2018, 20:07 | Author: Emmett Rice
US tariffs on steel and aluminum remain in place, but a Canadian official says 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.
"This is an unbelievable deal for our farmers and also allows them to use cutting edge biotechnology and eliminates non-scientific barriers".
The current duty-free threshold is only $20 (Canadian), or about $15 (U.S.).
The leaders of the three countries agreed on a deal in principle to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which governs more than $1.2 trillion of mutual trade, after acrimonious negotiations concluded on September 30.
Among those critics is Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) who said on Thursday afternoon that the "Trump's deal" would not "stop the serious and ongoing harm NAFTA causes for American workers".
The president falsely claimed the new deal was "the largest trade deal ever made" (the Trans-Pacific Partnership, from which he withdrew the United States, was larger), and asserted that it will lead to "high wages and higher wages" in the auto industry and bring back jobs that have been moved overseas.
There is more work to be done, Trudeau said, calling the recent announcement that General Motors will close plants in Canada and the United States "a heavy blow".
'President Trump spoke with Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau this morning, ' spokesman Hogan Gidley said in a statement.
Trump noted the signing in Argentina comes on the last day in office for the Mexican president, who is being succeeded by leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, elected five months ago. Elizabeth Warren officially announced she would be voting against the deal. His agenda Friday also includes meetings with the leaders of Japan and India, the signing of a revamped trade deal with Canada and Mexico, as well as a number of heavily choreographed group activities for the gathering of leaders of rich and developing nations.
But although the agreement has been signed it must be ratified by the legislative bodies of all three countries. But they also cited steel and aluminum tariffs as a lingering problem.
USA objections to Canada's protected internal market for dairy products was a major challenge facing negotiators during the talks, and Trump repeatedly demanded concessions and accused Canada of hurting U.S. farmers.
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".
Despite the symbolism of Friday's signing, Trump has no meetings with Trudeau scheduled while the two are in Argentina. He added later: "We've taken a lot of barbs and a little abuse, and we got there".
According to a news release from the White House, the USMCA would require "75 percent of auto content to be produced in North America".
"As it's now written, Trump's deal won't stop the serious and ongoing harm NAFTA causes for American workers". As Hansen-Kuhn stated, "Signing this new NAFTA is just one more step in a bad process".
In addition to having to be approved by Congress, the USMCA deal will also need to be approved by legislatures in both Canada and Mexico as well.
On Saturday, he will meet with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to address the trade war triggered by Trump's insistence on China ending what he says have been decades of unfair trade practices.
However, Mr Trudeau said there was still work to be done and called for tariffs to be ripped up.
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