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

02 December, 2018, 16:46 | Author: Sue Mclaughlin
  • U.S. Canada and Mexico fly next to each other in Detroit Michigan

It remains to be seen whether House Republicans will now vote against the agreement with the LGBT language, or if the USMCA has enough support for approval in the next Congress when Democrats will have a majority in the U.S. House.

Canada, Mexico and the United States on Friday signed an updated version of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), saying it will help strengthen regional ties and benefit the working class.

Trump had forced Canada and Mexico to renegotiate the 24-year-old agreement because he said the existing pact encouraged US companies to move jobs to low-wage Mexico.

However, the Democrats-controlled House can challenge that by introducing a rule to remove the deal from fast-track consideration, which could lead to a prolonged debate about possible "tweaks" of the deal.

On Friday, Trump hailed the deal as a boon for the economies of all three countries.

Both presidents addressed the tariff disputes they've had with Trump remarking that "battles sometimes make great friendships".

And while Trudeau was standing in front of Trump, he chose to emphasize the American president's failures. He opted not to hold up the agreement to showcase the leaders' signatures.

Meanwhile, Trump has joined the leaders of Canada and Mexico at a global meeting to sign a revised North American trade pact, fulfilling a longstanding political promise with a deal he celebrated as a "groundbreaking achievement".

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau still had a few barbs of his own on November 30.

Trudeau and Trump discussed their plans for the G20 summit in a November 27 phone call, according to the White House.

"In the U.S., the new trade pact will support high-paying manufacturing jobs and promote greater access for American exports across the range of sectors including our farming, manufacturing and service industries", Trump said.

Noting this week's announcement by top North American automaker General Motors to close several factories in Canada and the United States, Trudeau lamented the factory shutdowns "are a heavy blow".

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At the USMCA signing ceremony, Trudeau attempted to press the USA president on steel and aluminum tariffs.

And even as Trump, Trudeau and Peña Nieto - on his final day in office -signed the accord on the sidelines of the summit, officials from the three countries continued to haggle over terms for lifting United States tariffs, according to The Washington Post.

Mr. Trump said their encounter at the G-20 summit in Argentina was brief.

The deal comes after more than a year of negotiations between the parties, with agreement on new vehicle and dairy industry regulations proving particularly challenging.

There had been speculation that he would skip the signing ceremony due to his feelings on the subject.

Although the United States has federal laws barring discrimination on the basis of sex and courts are increasingly interpreting them to bar anti-LGBT discrimination, no explicit federal law is in place against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Mexico is Nebraska's second largest export market and Canada is the state's third largest market.

Senior Canadian officials said privately that in the negotiations, Trudeau had not been swayed by Trump's insults, feeling confident that Canada's view of an open, multilateral world order was the right path forward.

With an early tweet, Trump defended the continued negotiations by his private company over a proposed luxury tower in Moscow while he was running for president in 2016, saying it was "very legal & very cool". On Friday, the president described the prime minister as a friend.

For Trump - whose G20 diplomacy is overshadowed by legal troubles back home and his abrupt cancellation of a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin - the signing was a victory.

"President Trump has seriously overhyped this agreement".

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