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Canada agrees to free-trade at last minute

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Representatives of the United States, Canada, and Mexico worked around the clock to try and hammer out a trade agreement to replace the current North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and it looks like we have one.

Mexico and the United States had previously agreed to a free-trade pact, but Canada was resisting. President Trump had imposed a deadline of Sunday night at midnight for Canada to reach an agreement, or the other two countries would go on without them.

There were a few hurdles for the U.S. and Canada to overcome. Canada wanted protections for its lumber industry and a reduction in automobile tariffs. However, the United States wanted greater access to Canada’s restrictive dairy markets. The deal reached last night would meet those deals.

While it has been too early to go through every line of the agreement, it seems the new United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) has the approval of President Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto and President-Elect Andres Manuel López Obrador.

President Trump tweeted out on Monday, “It is a great deal for all three countries. It correct deficiencies and mistakes in NAFTA, greatly opens markets to our Farmers and Manufacturers, reduce Trade Barriers to the U.S. and will bring all three Great Nations closer together in competition with the rest of the world. Congratulations to Mexico and Canada.” The President plans to sign the agreement later this year and send it to Congress for ratification.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with his cabinet to be briefed on the agreement which he later called, “A good day for Canada.” Mexico’s Chief Negotiator for President-Elect Obrador says the deal will provide, “certainty and stability.”

The deal must still be approved by the governments of all three countries before it is official. So, we still have three more hurdles to leap.