Trump's new trade deal with Canada and Mexico is winning early praise

Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesUS President Donald Trump
  • The US, Canada, and Mexico agreed on Sunday to update the North American Free Trade Agreement, rebranding the deal as the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA.
  • The deal would make edits to NAFTA’s auto, labour, and dispute-resolution rules and open up access to various protected industries like dairy and wine.
  • Business groups praised the trilateral nature of the deal, especially as US President Donald Trump had threatened to kick out Canada.
  • But they cautioned that final approval would be subject to a close examination of the agreement’s details.

Early reviews of President Donald Trump’s new trade pact with Mexico and Canada are positive but cautious.

The update of the North American Free Trade Agreement – agreed to late Sunday and rebranded as the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA – came just hours before an artificial deadline set by the Trump administration.

The refreshed version of NAFTA will include increased labour protections for workers, increased standards for duty-free auto shipments, increased access to the Canadian dairy market for US farmers, and a slight tweak to the deal’s dispute-resolution system.

Most business and lobbying groups signalled approval of the USMCA, especially given Trump’s threat to cut out Canada from the agreement. While the tone was upbeat, several groups cautioned that full support would come only after they digested the deal’s technical details.

Here are a few initial reactions from Washington and beyond:

  • Sen. Orrin Hatch, Republican chair of the Senate Finance Committee: “I am pleased that the Trump administration was able to strike a deal to modernise NAFTA with both Mexico and Canada,” Hatch said. “NAFTA is a proven success for the United States, supporting more than 2 million American manufacturing jobs and boosting agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico by 350%. Maintaining a trilateral North American deal is an important prerequisite to preserving and extending those gains and the Trump administration has achieved that goal.”
  • Rep. Kevin Brady, Republican chair of the House Ways and Means Committee: “This important and welcome announcement that the United States, Mexico, and Canada have reached a trilateral agreement to update and modernise NAFTA for the 21st century can be a big win for America’s workers, farmers, and ranchers,” Brady said.
  • House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi: “Fixing NAFTA means increasing the paychecks of American workers, delivering real, enforceable labour standards, ensuring fairness for American agriculture, and recognising the connection between economic growth and environmental protections,” Pelosi said. “Democrats will closely scrutinize the text of the Trump Administration’s NAFTA proposal, and look forward to further analyses and conversations with stakeholders.”
  • Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn: “I’m encouraged that the United States, Mexico, and Canada have successfully come to a trilateral agreement to modernise NAFTA,” Cornyn said. “Millions of American jobs are supported by NAFTA, and in Texas, it’s the cornerstone of our economy. This agreement is a positive step toward to maintaining a strong, unified North American economy, and I look forward to reviewing the details.”
  • House Majority Whip Steve Scalise: “I applaud President Trump for this impressive new agreement with Canada,” Scalise said. “While many in Washington claimed it could not be done, President Trump worked tirelessly to bring Canada to the table and negotiate a new trade deal that is better for American workers and consumers.”
  • National Association of Manufacturers:“Manufacturers are extremely encouraged that our call for a trilateral agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico has been answered,” said Jay Timmons, the group’s president and CEO. “Today, there’s a massive amount of goods flowing across North America, meaning our countries’ economies are inextricably linked. What’s more, as the United States works to put an end to China’s cheating and unfair trade practices, we are better off united with our North American allies.”
  • Business Roundtable: “Business Roundtable is encouraged that the Administration has struck a deal with Canada and Mexico on updating NAFTA, maintaining its trilateral structure that is critical for North American supply chains,” the group representing American CEOs said in a statement. “Business Roundtable has shared the Administration’s goal of modernising and strengthening the agreement in ways that expand economic opportunity, create US jobs, and increase the competitiveness of US companies.”
  • Information Technology Industry Council:“Today’s trilateral agreement is a significant step toward creating a foundation for North America’s economic prosperity for years to come,” said Dean Garfield, the council’s CEO. “While we are still reviewing text, we’re encouraged this plan will build upon the prior economic success of NAFTA and adapt it to the fundamentally digital economy in which we live through new rules on digital trade, intellectual property, and trade in goods”
  • AFL-CIO: “The text we have reviewed, even before the confirmation that Canada will remain part of NAFTA, affirms that too many details still need to be worked out before working people make a final judgment on a deal,” said Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO’s president. “Our history of witnessing unfair trade deals destroy the lives of working families demands the highest level of scrutiny before receiving our endorsement.”
  • US Chamber of Commerce: “We welcome the announcement that negotiators have reached a deal to modernise NAFTA,” said CEO Thomas Donohue. “We look forward to reviewing the details with our members to determine next steps, and we commend the negotiators for their commitment to finding a path forward that includes the US, Mexico, and Canada.”
  • Americans For Farmers & Families: “Whether you breed cattle in Missouri like my family, raise hogs in North Carolina, grow corn in Iowa or simply shop at a local grocery store in New York, this announcement means that we will soon have the certainty we need to continue feeding our own and families around the world,” said Casey Guernsey, a farmer and AFF representative.
  • National Retail Federation: “We are pleased a deal has been reached that preserves NAFTA’s trilateral framework, which is critical to protecting North American supply chains that support millions of American jobs,” Matthew Shay, NRF’s CEO, said. “The administration, as well as officials from Canada and Mexico, should be applauded for months of hard work aimed at modernising NAFTA for the 21st century – a goal retailers have shared from the start.”

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