'Battle' over as Trudeau, Trump, Pena Nieto sign 'new NAFTA'

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto US President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Canada on track for Friday signing of USMCA once details finalized: Freeland

Trump appeared with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and outgoing Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto at the Group of 20 nations summit in Buenos Aires for the formal signing ceremony.

Some feel President Trump's revised trade agreement with Canada and Mexico will help. The agreement will still need Congressional approval.

Perhaps its most significant changes are related to the auto industry, for which Trump insisted on new protectionist provisions meant to wrest some manufacturing back from Mexico and overseas.

The USMCA emerged in early October, months after Trump hit Mexico and Canada with tariffs on their steel and aluminum products.

Trudeau addressed Trump directly about the tariffs, telling the president the two countries needed to work together "to remove the tariffs on steel and aluminum between our countries". "I will only support this new deal if we can make it a better deal for Wisconsin farmers, manufacturers, businesses and workers". "Our shared interests, prosperity and security demand it", he added. He can decide to lift them without making changes to the USMCA.

Lighthizer said the pact was negotiated from the beginning to be a bipartisan agreement. He 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 defense spending.

While Trump hailed the revised trade pact, Trudeau was more measured and used the event to call on Trump to remove the steel and aluminum tariffs the USA slapped on Canada and Mexico.

The USMCA differs from the 1993 NAFTA in several ways, and includes a brand-new chapter on digital trade. As Hansen-Kuhn stated, "Signing this new NAFTA is just one more step in a bad process".

The legislation will also reportedly cut back on auto imports, bringing back 75-percent of auto manufacturing jobs to the U.S.in a bid to restore American dominance in the auto market.

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

Overhanging the summit in Buenos Aires, the Argentine capital, is a trade dispute between the United States and China, the world's two largest economies, which have imposed tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other's imports. Trump's economic adviser Kudlow said that the administration believed that changes to NAFTA would make this type of closures unnecessary, but the management at GM apparently disagrees.

The three countries sealed the new trade accord a day before Trump is to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss a possible truce in their tit-for-tat trade war.

But other changes might not be so easy. "Unless strong enforcement mechanisms are written into the text of this agreement, corporations will continue to ship U.S.jobs to Mexico where workers are paid as little as $2 an hour".

"On the basis of what took place with respect to the ships and the sailors, that was the sole reason", Trump said. Lawmakers in both parties have called on Trump to at least avoid the young heir apparent as punishment. Elizabeth Warren officially announced she would be voting against the deal. The abrupt announcement came not long after his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, admitted lying to Congress to cover up that he was negotiating a real estate deal in Moscow on Trump's behalf during the Republican presidential primary in 2016.

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

USA labor groups have also withheld support so far over the enforceability of the new standards.

"It's going to be a very tough sell", said Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell of New Jersey, top Democrat on the House subcommittee that oversees trade issues. But the Canadian government's official website for the trade deal, updated today, puts Canada first in the acronym: CUSMA. The commission has 105 days after the signing, or until mid-March, to deliver its report to Congress.

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