Trump signs long-awaited North American trade deal


"I just look forward to getting, getting through it responsibly and rapidly because it's so important for Canadians", he said.

House Democrats sat on the deal for a year, saying they wanted stiffer protections for workers and the environment and a way to enforce those provisions. Flanked by a group of American workers wearing hard hats, Trump said the agreement would bolster US economic growth, benefiting farmers, workers and manufacturers.

"Along with members of Congress, state and local leaders, and workers from across the country, including farmers, ranchers, and entrepreneurs, President Trump will celebrate another promise made, promise kept to the American people", White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement Wednesday.

Proponents of the USMCA said it will rebalance and modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement, which went into effect in 1994.

The USMCA - christened in Canada as CUSMA but known more widely simply as "the new NAFTA" - is expected to feature prominently in Trump's re-election efforts, which is why House Democrats were also clamouring to take a share of credit. Trump, an outspoken critic of NAFTA, mentioned Trudeau only once Wednesday, acknowledging his "close partnership and co-operation" while in the same breath hailing an "incredible friendship and relationship" with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

"What the president is signing is quite different than what the president sent us", Mrs. Pelosi said Wednesday.

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The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement must still be ratified by Canada before it can take effect.

Mexico is the #2 market for whole beans, meal and oil, and Canada is the #4 buyer of meal and #7 buyer of oil for USA soybean farmers, making the trade agreement essential to sustaining the growth realized in those two countries under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

"Today, we are finally ending the NAFTA nightmare and signing into law the brand-new U.S. -Mexico-Canada Agreement", Trump told the crowd.

Numerous original Nafta provisions will continue under the new accord, which governs more than $1tr in annual trade between the three countries.

US lawmakers said it was unclear when the accord would take effect, since Canada's main opposition Conservative Party had expressed concerns about aspects of the deal and there was no exact timeline for ratification there. He said the final accord won stronger protections for workers, better enforcement of environmental provisions, and steps to prevent higher drug prices. House Democrats who were instrumental in obtaining broad bipartisan support to secure the agreement were absent. In December 2019, the agreement was endorsed by the US House of Representatives and approved by the Senate on January 16.

Still, environmentalists opposed it. Wenonah Hauter, the executive director of Food & Water Action, said the deal "spells disaster for food safety, air and water quality, and climate change" because it asks little of the parties by way of conservation.