Canada, Mexico, US agree revamped NAFTA trade deal

World Today

President Donald Trump pauses while he takes questions on a revamped North American free trade deal, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Monday, Oct. 1, 2018. The new deal, reached just before a midnight deadline imposed by the U.S., will be called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. It replaces the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement, which President Donald Trump had called a job-killing disaster. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

One of the largest free trade deals ever made has been replaced.

U.S. President Donald Trump repeatedly called The North American Free Trade Association the worst trade deal ever.

Now he has one that he thinks is better, but for whom?

CGTN’s Owen Fairclough reports.

It took all-negotiations before a Washington-imposed deadline before U.S. President Donald Trump emerged from the White House to said goodbye to the North American Free Trade Agreement and announce: “[The] US -Mexico Canada agreement – called USMCA…it sort of just works.”

But for whom? A reworked deal that noticeably drops the words ‘free trade’ from the title has been driven by a Trump administration that claims NAFTA destroyed American jobs and businesses by losing them to cheaper competitors such as Mexico.

So USMCA means quotas on auto imports into the U.S.

And 75 percent of a North American vehicle’s parts must be made there—to prevent U.S. workers being undercut by cheaper components sourced elsewhere.

And it also gives U.S dairy farmers – in key states for Trump – access to a Canadian market that had kept them out with tariffs.

But there’s a key exception that protects another Trump constituent – steelworkers.

Trump said the U.S. will maintain tariffs on aluminium and steel “until such time as we can do something that would be different like quotas, perhaps so that our industry is protected. We are not going to allow our steel industry to disappear. It was almost gone.”

Despite this constraint, Mexico was happy with the outcome.

“This agreement, which has now been signed by the three countries, firstly has to be good for Mexico,” said Ricardo Monreal, Mexican Senator.

If Canada at least won a deal breaker on keeping special trade dispute arbitration panels, it’s at the expense of dairy farmers who fear they’ll be sunk by a wave of U.S. imports.

But Canada’s Prime Minister insisted they would be protected, adding: “Free and fair trade in North America, a trading zone that accounts for more than a quarter of the world’s economy with seven per cent of its population, is in a much more stable place than it was yesterday,”

The three countries aim to sign off on the revised deal by the end of November before Trump sends it Congress for approval.

And yet with midterm elections in early November, even Trump admitted there’s no guarantee of USMCA’s safe passage through Congress.

Isaac Cohen on the new trade agreement between the US, Mexico and Canada

CGTN’s Elaine Reyes talked to Isaac Cohen, a former director of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean, about the new trade agreement between the U.S., Mexico & Canada.