US, Canada and Mexico agree to replace Nafta

Updated 11 Dec 2019

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Canada, Mexico and the United States have agreed to a fresh overhaul of their quarter-century-old regional trade pact after negotiators approved changes to a preliminary deal struck last year, and officials will sign the new agreement on Tuesday. — AFP/File
Canada, Mexico and the United States have agreed to a fresh overhaul of their quarter-century-old regional trade pact after negotiators approved changes to a preliminary deal struck last year, and officials will sign the new agreement on Tuesday. — AFP/File

WASHINGTON: Canada, Mexico and the United States have agreed to a fresh overhaul of their quarter-century-old regional trade pact after negotiators approved changes to a preliminary deal struck last year, and officials will sign the new agreement on Tuesday.

The deal, which still needs the approval of lawmakers in all three countries, adds more stringent oversight of the pact’s labour provisions demanded by US Democrats, changes that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said made it an “infinitely better” deal than the one struck between the Trump administration, Canada and Mexico in 2018.

The United States, Mexico, Canada Trade Agreement, or USMCA, would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta), a regional pact in place since 1994 that encompasses $1.2 trillion in annual trade across the continent. Its backers say it is responsible for 12 million US jobs and a third of all US agricultural exports.

US President Donald Trump launched a renegotiation of Nafta in his first year in office, intent on delivering on his 2016 campaign promise to replace what he has derided as the “worst deal ever.” Canadian and Mexican leaders reluctantly agreed to join the negotiations with their largest trading partner. “Americas great USMCA Trade Bill is looking good. It will be the best and most important trade deal ever made by the USA.

Good for everybody — Farmers, Manufacturers, Energy, Unions — tremendous support,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday. “Importantly, we will finally end our Countrys worst Trade Deal, Nafta!” For Democrats, the deal serves as a retort to Trump’s and Republicans’ assertions that their only agenda was pursuing his impeachment.

Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2019