US, Mexico, Canada agree on new free trade pact

On Sept. 30, the United States and Canada finally reached a trade agreement that, when joined with a recent US-Mexico pact, will replace the region's outdated accord from a quarter century ago.

The United States and Canada announced late Sunday they'd reached a deal for Canada to stay in the North American trade pact with the United States and Mexico.

NAFTA tore down most trade barriers between the United States, Canada and Mexico, leading to a surge in trade among them.

Under the USMCA, the limitation on having auto parts sourced from North America means higher prices that will be passed on to consumers, Drury said. Leaders of the three countries will be able to sign the pact after a 60-day review period.

"It will strengthen the middle class, and create good, well-paying jobs and new opportunities for the almost half billion people who call North America home".

"Once approved by Congress, this new deal will be the most modern, up-to-date and balanced trade agreement in the history of our country, with the most advanced protections for workers ever developed", Trump told reporters.

"There could be Democratic support for this" as it contains provisions favorable to American labor - a traditional backer of the Democratic Party, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow tells VOA.

"To me it seems like it's a stonewashed and ripped NAFTA, if you will, rather than a modernized agreement", Hugo Perezcano Díaz, a director at the Center for International Governance Innovation and a former trade official for the Mexican government, said. "There are really no poison pills in here for Democrats".

Trump had said he wanted to go ahead with a revamped NAFTA - with or without Canada.

United Steelworkers Canadian director Ken Neumann was more direct, saying Canada "sold out" steel and aluminum workers by not getting the 25 per cent steel tariffs and 10 per cent aluminum tariffs removed.

Meanwhile, the punitive tariffs on steel and aluminum levied last spring on spurious and insulting "national security" grounds remain in place - this was not directly part of the NAFTA negotiation - though perhaps now the Americans will see less value in holding onto bargaining chips that boomerang on their own economy by increasing the price of inputs to USA manufacturers.

"On the question of visas, we have retained existing NAFTA language on that, but not gone beyond it", said a senior administration official.

The NAFTA dispute-resolution process will also be kept in the new deal.

Trump and Trudeau spoke to each other by phone Monday morning. Keeping them was perhaps the highest priority for Canadians - who otherwise would have to litigate in American courts, where USA companies would enjoy a home-field advantage.

"We fail to see how this deal can be good for the 220,000 Canadian families that depend on dairy for their livelihood", according to the group. US drug companies can fend off generic competition for a few more years.

"It's very good news for Canadian wheat and barley farmers and actually for all of export-dependent agriculture in Canada", said Tom Steve, the general manager of the Alberta Wheat and Barley Commission.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country was in a more stable place now that it had completed the negotiations. This could give North American auto part manufacturers an edge in North America against foreign competitors, said Jonathan Doh, a professor at Villanova University School of Business.

The U.S. and Canada were under pressure to reach a deal by midnight Sunday, when the U.S. must make public the full text of the agreement with Mexico.

  • Zachary Reyes