Donald Trump Says He’s ‘Replacing’ NAFTA With Mexico Trade Deal, Canada Could Be Left Out
President Donald Trump announced on Monday that the U.S. is pursuing a new trade deal with Mexico that will replace the longstanding North-American Free Trade Agreement, which the two countries share with Canada.
Trump urged Canada to join the pact soon before it is excluded. On Monday, he and outgoing Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto held a conference call, during which Peña Nieto reportedly stated he felt “hopeful” that Canada would soon enter into the new accord.
According to several reports, Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland met with Trump in Washington on Tuesday to discuss issues related to NAFTA.
“Well, this deal is pretty well put together with Mexico. So the president, as he’s indicated, is fully prepared to go ahead with or without Canada,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said of the new deal this week on Fox Business. “We hope that Canada will come in.”
“If not, they will then have to be treated as a real outsider,” Ross added.
Trump has repeatedly criticized NAFTA, an agreement, calling it “the worst trade deal ever made” on more than one occasion. The pact was first created in 1994, and many economists have warned that withdrawing from it or renegotiating it to redetermine trade barriers could negatively impact the U.S. economy and its job market. The president said the new deal would be renamed the “U.S.-Mexico Trade Agreement.”
As part of the new pact, Mexico and the U.S. have reportedly agreed to “increase regional automotive content to 75 percent from the current 62.5 percent in NAFTA, with 40 percent to 45 percent of production by workers earning at least $16 an hour,” Bloomberg reported, citing the U.S Trade Representative’s office. The two nations also agreed to reevaluate the accord after six years, even though Trump’s administration had recently requested that NAFTA be eliminated after five years unless all members renewed their commitment to it.
Following Trump’s announcement on the new deal, many stock indexes like Nasdaq and S&P 500 rose, and currencies like the peso and Canadian dollar also rallied.
Several lawmakers, including Republicans, voiced concern over the new trade agreement’s potential effects on consumers.
“There is reason to worry that this might be a step backward from NAFTA for American families — especially on fundamental issues of presumed expiration of the deal, and empowering government bureaucrats rather than markets to determine the components in cars and other goods,” said Nebraska GOP Sen. Ben Sasse, who has repeatedly criticized the president.
Trump dismissed senators’ criticisms in a tweet Tuesday morning in which he noted that many countries “tariff us to death:”
Earlier this year, Trump imposed metal tariffs on Mexico, Canada and the European Union.
I smile at Senators and others talking about how good free trade is for the U.S. What they don’t say is that we lose Jobs and over 800 Billion Dollars a year on really dumb Trade Deals….and these same countries Tariff us to death. These lawmakers are just fine with this!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 28, 2018