President Trump Announces Renaming, Overhaul to NAFTA in 'Fairer' Deal with Mexico

Anna Jefferson
August 27, 2018

The US and Mexico have reached common ground on key trade terms as pressure mounts to complete renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Trump has said that if Canada wants to negotiate fairly, the United States will do that and that he will call Canada soon - (Mexico is hoping that this will materialise in a quick fashion).

U.S. Secretary Sonny Perdue is expected to release details of a US$12 billion aid package for the country's agriculture sector on Monday to help counter the negative effects of an ongoing trade war between Washington and Beijing that's resulted in stiff retaliatory tariffs against a number of American agricultural products.

"Canada is encouraged by the continued optimism shown by our negotiating partners", said a spokesperson for Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland. Perhaps as a hardline negotiating tactic, the president also suggested that the USA might hike tariffs on Canadian cars in response, a move that analysts with CIBC markets reported in July could cut Canada's auto exports to the USA almost in half, and could throw the manufacturing province of Ontario into recession. Even after being formally signed, it would have be ratified by lawmakers in each country.

Trump has repeatedly indicated he would prefer to reach bilateral agreements with Canada and Mexico, but the two countries have maintained a united front that a trilateral agreement is the only one they will sign.

"There are still a lot of questions left to be answered", MacKay said.

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The president says he will be calling Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Still, an accord between the USA and Mexico is the biggest development in talks that began a year ago, punctuated by Trump's repeated threats to quit altogether. Higher labor standards: The new deal would require that 40% to 45% of auto parts in cars sold be made by workers earning at least $16 Dollars per hour.

Negotiations between the United States and Mexico resolved a major stumbling block on auto manufacturing.

Mr. Trump said the new deal was better for the U.S. and rendered obsolete the 24-year old agreement between the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

He then threatened Canada with new tariffs on cars if it didn't come to a trade agreement with with the US, which he said could be bilateral. The other was the USA proposal for a "sunset clause" within the agreement. He then congratulated him on the new deal with the cameras rolling.

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Critics quickly denounced the prospect of cutting Canada out the North American trade pact.

Much of the business world has been anxious about Trump's trade policies, and the stock market reacted positively to the news of a deal.

"This wasn't created to put pressure on anybody", a senior administration official said, before later adding that the United States planned to submit its NAFTA renegotiation plans to Congress by the end of the week with or without Canada's agreement.

In fact, the announcement immediately ran into pushback in Mexico. "Canada's signature is required", spokesman Adam Austen said.

"My farmers, the farmers have stuck with me, and I said we were going to do this", he said.

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