Trump hails 'most important ever' US-Canada-Mexico trade pact


The US and Canada on Sunday sealed the deal on a new trade agreement that, along with an earlier US-Mexico agreement, opens to door to a rewrite of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Freeland told reporters Monday that as she had predicted there had been "dramatic moments" during the talks but it had been important not to get overtaken by them and to remain focused. While the system helped support a wave of new processing capacity that's being built across Canada, U.S. farmers complained it effectively blocked imports and dragged down world prices.

"Frankly, we're thinking about just taxing cars coming in from Canada".

While New Delhi threatened tariff hikes on 29 American products worth $10.6 billion as early as August, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government reportedly made a decision to postpone the retaliatory measures pending negotiations with United States officials, who are seeking to reduce its $31-billion deficit with India.

Trump's charges against the alleged high Indian tariffs, for the second time in a few days, came during his White House news conference where he announced a new trade deal with neighbouring Mexico and Canada.

THE CANADIAN PRESS Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland hold a press conference regarding the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) at the National Press Theatre, in Ottawa on October 1, 2018.

U.S President Donald Trump praised the deal, saying in a tweet this morning that negotiators had crafted a "wonderful new trade deal with Canada", that "solves the many deficiencies and mistakes in NAFTA, greatly opens markets to our farmers and manufacturers, reduce trade barriers to the US and will bring all three great nations closer together".

Most critical of the deal was the dairy industry, which railed against expanded USA access to the domestic dairy market and the elimination of competitive dairy classes.

"Without tariffs we wouldn't be talking about a deal", Mr Trump said.

Despite Trump's rhetoric, the new agreement keeps the framework of NAFTA largely intact, maintaining the status quo of free trade between the three countries. That followed a testy meeting in June, when Trump accused Trudeau of being "dishonest".

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The Canadian government was prepared to be flexible on dairy as they weren't going to allow a full dismantling of the nation's supply-managed system, said Ian de Verteuil, head of portfolio strategy at CIBC Capital Markets. From 2020, cars must have 75% of their parts manufactured in Canada, Mexico or the United States to qualify for zero import tariffs - a substantial jump from the current 62.5% requirement.

Political deadlines are often fuzzy but Canada and the United States appear to be working towards some major compromises and a NAFTA deal. It also offers Mexico and Canada partial protection from broader auto tariffs the Trump administration has threatened to impose, but falls short of marking those countries exempt.

On Monday, he said his government did not act earlier because Canada was in the midst of trade negotiations. "It was part of Canada's concession to the USA, to show Trump and co. that Canada can be counted on as an ally in dealing with China", he said.

"This is a very very big deal for our farmers".

The new pact - a replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement - was reached after a prolonged stretch of negotiations, with the deal finally being reached in the 11th hour.

Dan Ujczo, a trade lawyer with Dickinson Wright, tells the Post, "the heavy lift is going to be getting a trade deal through the next Congress in 2019 as well as ratification by Mexico's new Congress and in Canada during federal election year".

"They (India) have called us to make a deal, we didn't even call them; they called us to make a deal, which is like shocking to people", he added.

The 25 percent steel and 10 percent aluminum tariffs were implemented in March.

"China wants to talk, very badly". But Baskin said that some, like him, think the situation was mishandled from the start, despite their relief on Monday. The existence of NAFTA text that largely satisfied most parties gave negotiators solid ground to build on, but no such ground exists for the USA relationship with China.