Local farmers weigh in on new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada

Canada on track for Friday signing of USMCA once details finalized: Freeland

Trump displays the newly signed agreement in Buenos Aires, with his singular signature in the middle.

Trump called the measure the "largest, most significant, modern and balanced trade agreement in history", during his remarks with Trudeau and Nieto. "All of our countries will benefit greatly".

This second requirement was put in place to prevent auto manufacturers from favoring Mexico, which allows companies to pay workers lower wages, over the United States.

Trump added that the treaty would promote high wages, citing autoworkers as primary beneficiaries.

The deal mostly leaves NAFTA in place, but does help the US auto industry by requiring that 40 percent of vehicles be made where workers make at least $16 an hour.

Among the areas getting the most scrutiny were concessions over Canada's protection of its dairy market, including reducing barriers for American farmers to sell cheese, milk and other products to Canada.

Matt Blunt, the head of the main lobbying group for GM, Ford and Fiat-Chrysler, applauded the deal, saying it would keep north American automotive manufacturing competitive and included a first-ever provision to address currency manipulation. "Instead, we have a deal that locks in numerous old rules that have driven farmers out of agriculture for more than two decades".

The USMCA also contains new provisions on digital trade and financial services. Administration officials have said publicly that the tariffs would be lifted when a new deal was reached to replace NAFTA. The U.S. leader has touched off a global showdown over trade by threatening a broad range of tariffs to force changes in trade practices that he considers unfair to American industry.

The USMCA replaces NAFTA, which in 1994 had created a free trade zone between the three countries.

Overhanging the summit in Buenos Aires, the Argentine capital, is a trade dispute between the United States and China, the world's two largest economies, which have imposed tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other's imports.

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Last year, Rubio said any new trade agreement should increase "oversight and enforcement" of illegal trade practices and that Mexico should have to raise its minimum labor and environmental standards to "limit excessive and unfair production cost advantages" over USA farmers.

Yet the article noted that Canada had been "reluctant to have a celebratory signing of a free trade deal marred by tariffs that suggest anything but true free trade". "And this is an agreement that, first and foremost, benefits working people-something of great importance to all three of us here today".

The National Association of Manufacturers is calling for swift approval by USA lawmakers.

"It's been so well reviewed, I don't expect to have very much of a problem", he said.

Despite Trump's hostile rhetoric about unauthorized immigrants crossing into the United States from Mexico, he appeared to be on better terms with that nation's president, Enrique Pena Nieto, who was serving his final day in office - and, in Trump's view, going out on a high note by signing the trade agreement.

"It is really an incredible way to end a presidency".

Speaking at the ceremony, Trudeau referred to the accord as a "new North American Free Trade Agreement" and described it as "modernizing NAFTA", despite Trump's preferred branding as USMCA.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau still had a few barbs of his own on November 30.

"Our objective has always been to sign this agreement on November 30 and we are on track to hit that objective", Freeland said shortly after the Canadian delegation arrived in Argentina for the two-day summit.

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