Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Canada, US and Mexico's make 'historic transaction' with new trade agreement

Shares of US automakers rallied after the US Canada and Mexico reached a new trade agreement Shares of US automakers rallied after the US Canada and Mexico reached a new trade agreement More
Andrew Cummings | 02 October, 2018, 10:27

The president held court for almost 90 minutes at yet another rollicking White House news conference during which he acknowledged that he and Canada's prime minister have been at odds in recent weeks as talks to reach a new continental trade pact came down to the wire.

Late Sunday, the Trump administration announced it had reached a three-way trade agreement with Canada and Mexico, the U.S. -Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), replacing the NAFTA agreement that had been in place since 1994.

The rarely expressed sentiment from Trump was reasonable - Congress might well not vote to ratify the agreement.

"The deal includes a substantial increase in our farmers' opportunities to export American wheat, poultry, eggs and dairy, including milk, butter, cheese, yogurt and ice cream, to name a few", Trump said. He added that over the last 10 years, the United States has enjoyed a trade surplus with Brazil of US$90 billion (RM373.3 billion) in goods, and of US$250 billion in goods and services. "It's an unbelievable deal for a lot of people".

Foreign outsourcing for US automotive production will be reduced under the deal, said Trump, who predicted "once USMCA is approved, it will be a new dawn for the USA auto industry and the USA auto worker", turning the country again into "a manufacturing powerhouse".

"Making progress, we'll see where we end up", said the official by email, speaking on condition of anonymity.

At least 40% of a vehicle made in North America must also be made by a worker earning at least $16 an hour, which is likely to benefit the U.S. and Canada most. "This is not a Republican-only agreement".

"Democrats will closely scrutinize the text of the Trump administration's NAFTA proposal and look forward to further analyses and conversations with stakeholders", House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.

"The agreement-in-principle we reached today is good for Canada, good for Canadian businesses, and most importantly, good for Canadian workers and their families".

The dairy farmer from Fort Macleod says he is sick of being used as a pawn after learning of the new trade agreement, which allows USA dairy producers greater access to the Canadian market.

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Trump early this month had said India wanted a trade deal with the United States despite the USA administration's tough stance on the issue. Both nations run an agricultural trade surplus with the U.S.

So-called Chapter 19 dispute panels, which the US wants to eliminate from Nafta and which Canada wants to preserveAn exemption for cultural sectors which Canada wants to preserveThe use of Section 232 investigations to apply tariffs to steel, aluminum, and potentially cars.

"That's the motherlode, that's the big one", the president threatened, as he slammed the state of negotiations and Canadians trade negotiators.

"This deadline was real", according to a senior USA official.

In addition, it adds provisions to prevent "manipulation" of the trade rules, including covering currency values, and controls over outside countries trying to take advantage of the duty-free market, he said.

US farm groups said their first goal in negotiations for the new NAFTA was to maintain duty-free access for farm exports to Canada and Mexico, followed by such issues as Canada's supply management system for dairy, poultry, and eggs.

Trudeau said he knows there is anxiety for dairy producers but also implied things could have been a lot worse.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) in the United States declared itself "extremely encouraged" by initial details of the new three-way pact.

Pierre Lampron, the president of the Dairy Farmers of Canada, pulled no punches with his organization's disdain for the new trade deal.

Canada had previously offered the US a 3.25-per-cent market share under the old Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, which Trump also derided - and pulled the USA from - after he took office in 2017. "This is not going to just be words on paper".

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