US President Donald Trump joined the Canadian and Mexican presidents in a press conference where he praised the "truly great achievement" made by the three leaders, who earlier today signed a new North American trade pact.
They agreed on a deal in principle to govern the more than trillion dollars of mutual trade after a year and a half of acrimonious negotiations concluded with a late-night bargain just an hour before a deadline on September 30.
But the three leaders sat down to put ink to paper, signing a deal that has a few questions hanging over it - mainly the fate of steel and aluminum tariffs the US imposed on its North American neighbors. Trudeau also referenced recent downsizing moves by GM in North America as a "heavy blow". "We urge President Trump to rescind all tariffs and avoid any quotas on steel and aluminum in order to maximize the job and economic growth made possible by the USMCA". The longstanding trilateral deal was roundly criticized by the United States protectionist right, as well as the anti-globalization left, particularly for the damage that eliminating tariffs did to the USA auto industry.
The accord - called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) - requires 75 percent of auto content to be made in the NAFTA region, up from the current level of 62.5 percent, a move that would make it hard for automakers to use parts produced outside the three countries.
The open letter, which is signed by DFC's President and the chairs of all 10 provincial dairy associations, states that government officials had assured dairy farmers that the issue of the USA oversight had not been agreed to by Canada, and would not be part of the final agreement.
The signing by the three leaders was a formality - it was the three of them issuing a directive to their trade representatives to finish the final pact. At rallies, Trump suggested to think of YMCA to remember the name. He struck a more optimistic note on Friday, saying, "It's been so well-reviewed, I don't expect to have very much of a problem". It updates the trade pact to reflect the rise of the digital economy since the original NAFTA took effect almost a quarter century ago.
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The U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) expressed its support of the signing of the USMCA.
The new agreement is now expected to face staunch Congressional opposition as newly empowered House Democrats will be reluctant to hand the president a political win absent significant concessions in other policy disputes. Canada has said it will lift its tariffs once the USA lifts its own.
USA tariffs on steel and aluminum remain in the agreement, something the three sides have been trying to iron out.
The new trade pact would bring to the United States high-paying manufacturing jobs and boost exports in various sectors, including farming, manufacturing, and service industries, he said.
"A vast number of technical details need to be scrubbed and wrapped up", she added.
Signing the deal is largely ceremonial; it still requires ratification by all three countries before it can formally take effect. The U.S. previously had reached agreement with Mexico on a successor to NAFTA, which Mr. Trump had criticized as outdated and harmful to American interests. It was not clear until just a day earlier that the ceremony would go through amid ongoing Canadian protests over US-imposed steel and aluminum tariffs.