Trump touts new trade deal with Canada and Mexico as ‘historic’

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US President Donald Trump speaks to reporters about the US–Mexico–Canada Agreement as he is surrounded by staff at the White House in Washington, DC, on October 1, 2018. (AFP photo)

US President Donald Trump has touted a new trade agreement made with Canada and Mexico that replaces NAFTA as "truly historic news," marking it as a victory in his push to reshape the lines of global commerce.

The new trilateral deal is "truly historic news for our nation and indeed for the world," Trump said Monday during a press conference at the White House.

“We have successfully completed negotiations on a brand new deal to terminate and replace NAFTA and the NAFTA trade agreements with an incredible new US-Canada-Mexico agreement,” Trump said, pledging that “it will transform North America back into a manufacturing powerhouse.”

“These measures will support many - hundreds of thousands - American jobs,” Trump said. “It means far more American jobs, and these are high-quality jobs.”

US and Canadian negotiators worked frantically ahead of a US-imposed deadline on Sunday to settle differences, with both sides making concessions to seal the deal. The US and Mexico had already clinched a bilateral agreement in August.

The Trump administration had threatened to proceed with a Mexico-only trade pact as US talks with Canada foundered.

The deal is a reworking of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which underpins $1.2 trillion in trade between the three countries.

Trump had described the nearly 25-year-old NAFTA agreement as "the worst trade deal perhaps ever made" and threatened to eliminate it as part of his “America First” policy.

The new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is aimed at bringing more jobs into the US, with Canada and Mexico accepting more restrictive commerce with America, their main export partner.

The deal effectively maintains the current auto sector and largely spares Canada and Mexico from the prospect of US tariffs on their vehicles, although it will make it harder for global auto makers to build cars cheaply in Mexico.

The deal does not include any changes to separate US tariffs on steel and aluminum levied earlier this year on many of Washington’s trading partners, including Canada, Mexico, the European Union and China.

The Trump administration has abandoned several international trade accords and slapped tariffs on a number of key trading partners, including China.

US officials intend to sign the deal by November 30, after which it would be submitted to the US Congress for approval, said Peter Navarro, the White House trade adviser.

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