Trump Signs Revised Trade Agreement With Mexico And Canada
Keeping a Key Campaign Pledge, President Celebrates Victory Without Democrats Who Helped Ratify Him.
With great fanfare – and without the presence of the Democratic contingent of Congress pushing for ratification – President Donald Trump signed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) on the White House’s south lawn. The ceremony was attended by about 400 guests, including farmers, CEOs and employees. At the ceremony, Trump welcomed «significant, historical and joyful event» and said the deal would prevent outsourcing and save jobs in the United States. Among those in attendance were Vice President Pence and Senior Adviser Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law. Dozens of Republican legislators also attended the event.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Democrats, who put their resolution to the agreement and whose support was critical, were not invited to the ceremony.
The deal is a reboot of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which has regulated trade between the United States and its neighbors since 1994. Leaving NAFTA without replacing it would force the three countries to revert to WTO trade rules, which would disrupt supply chains and disrupt production across the continent..
Trump relentlessly ridiculed NAFTA as «worst trade ever», when he ran for president four years ago, arguing that it puts American workers at a competitive disadvantage. Other critics, including Democrats, admitted that NAFTA was outdated and in need of revision..
Trump resumed trade talks with Mexico and Canada four months after taking office, and after 13 months of negotiations, the parties struck a deal. The treaty was passed by the House last December and the Senate this month with bipartisan support after House Democrats made some changes..
Mexico has already ratified the agreement and Canada is expected to formally approve it shortly.
The revised treaty creates new environmental and labor standards for all participating countries, as well as gives American farmers greater access to Canadian markets and, among other changes, guarantees benefits for US automakers.
Higher requirements for car manufacturing regulations will increase the percentage of auto parts that must be supplied to countries of origin from the United States, and tighter standards will reduce the financial gains to automakers in Mexico, where labor and environmental regulations have been weaker..
The deal expanded intellectual property protection and conditions for digital commerce, a sector that has grown since NAFTA was originally agreed. The USMCA is also opening up the Canadian market for American dairy products, which Trump has focused on while talking about how the deal will benefit US farmers..
«This is a cutting edge agreement that protects the people of our country», – Trump said.
Although Trump promoted the USMCA as a capital replacement «nightmare NAFTA», as he called it in his remarks, trade experts believe that this characteristic was inaccurate.
Trump said the USMCA will increase the U.S. gross domestic product by 1.2 percent. This number is significantly higher than most major estimates. An April report from the US International Trade Commission said the USMCA will expand the economy by 0.35 percent after being fully implemented within six years. Trump’s senior advisers also gave a more balanced assessment of the possible impact of the deal. White House officials previously estimated economic growth at nearly 0.5 percent, which some also consider excessive.
It is unclear whether the deal will help reverse decades of damage to the U.S. industrial sector. Factory employment in the United States has declined by nearly 6 million since the entry into force of NAFTA in 1994 and China’s accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001. According to the International Trade Commission, the USMCA can add only 50 thousand jobs here.
Trump signs new trade deal with Mexico and Canada
The USMCA has been supported by the AFL-CIO, one of the largest unions in the country, as well as leading business groups such as the US Chamber of Commerce Roundtable. Other union groups, such as the International Association of Engine Drivers and Aerospace Workers, opposed the agreement. The United International Food and Trade Union also criticized the agreement for not including «country of origin marking», designed to ensure food safety and prevent foreign companies from bypassing food production standards.
Many of the country’s leading environmental organizations, including the Sierra Club and the League of Voters working on conservation issues, also viewed the agreement as incapable of addressing climate change and helping «corporate polluters».
The overwhelming majority of supporters of the US Democratic Party, as well as most of the leading Democratic presidential candidates, have supported the USMCA. Senator Bernie Sanders, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, voted against the initiative, supporting the stance of environmental groups and the Engineers’ Union..
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