Economy

Canada signs onto revamped NAFTA on sidelines of high-stakes G20 summit

Canada signs onto revamped NAFTA on sidelines of high-stakes G20 summit”

US President Donald Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Pena Nieto, the leaders of the largest states in North America, took part in a signing ceremony to kick off the new US-Mexico-Canada Agreement at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires on Friday.

The revised deal has been renamed as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA.

"There is much more work to do in lowering trade barriers and in fostering growth that benefits everyone, but reaching a new free trade agreement with the United States and Mexico is a major step for our economy".

Turning to Mr Trudeau, he said: "This has been a battle and battles sometimes make great friendships so it's really terrificc".

Turning to address Trump, said "And Donald, it's all the more reason why we need to keep working to remove the tariffs on steel and aluminum between our countries".

The USMCA emerged in early October, months after Trump hit Mexico and Canada with tariffs on their steel and aluminum products. Canada has said it will lift its tariffs once the USA lifts its own.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a likely 2020 presidential candidate, said she will oppose the new deal, saying it won't stop the "serious and ongoing harm NAFTA causes for American workers".

The president has repeatedly called NAFTA "the worst trade deal ever" and came close to withdrawing the United States from it within months of taking office.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters here on Thursday that there was still some fine tuning to do on the new trade pact before they would sign.

Despite the symbolism of Friday's signing, Trump has no meetings with Trudeau scheduled while the two are in Argentina.

"We have worked hard on this agreement", Trump said. "The fact that this is an agreement in three languages adds to the level of technical complexity and it is on that level that we are just being sure that all the Is are dotted and all the Ts are crossed".

Friday also marks an important deadline for the revamped version of NAFTA.

The USMCA - which overhauls the rules covering more than $1.2 trillion in regional commerce - faces major hurdles next year in Congress, where Democrats will control the House and may be reluctant to help Trump to fulfill a 2016 campaign promise.

Trudeau described last week's factory cuts by General Motors as a "heavy blow".

Trudeau's readout on the same call also mentioned lifting the tariffs the US imposed on steel and aluminum.

Each of the country's must get their parliaments to approve the deal, however. 'The Prime Minister also reinforced the importance of both countries lifting the tariffs on steel and aluminum'.



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