U.S., Canada reach new NAFTA deal

The U.S. and Canada reached a deal on an updated North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) after negotiators in Washington and Ottawa worked furiously into the night to meet a self-imposed September 30 deadline.

In a joint statement, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said that the new deal will “give our workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses a high-standard trade agreement that will result in freer markets, fairer trade and robust economic growth in our region.”

“It will strengthen the middle class and create good, well-paying jobs and new opportunities for the nearly half billion people who call North America home,” the two trade ministers said.

The new agreement is called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said to reporters, “It’s a good day for Canada.”

Reactions were quick to pour in following the announcement.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who has been critical of some of Trump’s trade moves in the past, said he is pleased Canada will remain in the new trade deal.

“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 percent,” Hatch said.

“Maintaining a trilateral North American deal is an important prerequisite to preserving and extending those gains and the Trump administration has achieved that goal,” he said.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said after reading the text that “too many details still need to be worked out before working people make a final judgment on a deal.”

“Our history of witnessing unfair trade deals destroy the lives of working families demands the highest level of scrutiny before receiving our endorsement,” Trumka said.

After a week of especially intense work, the U.S. and Canada reportedly managed to grind out a deal on the toughest issues, including providing more access to the Canadian dairy market.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said he will present the text of the deal to the Mexican Senate. The three nations put a last-minute rush on the deal to ensure that Peña Nieto could sign the agreement before he leaves office Saturday, December 1.

Maritime Editorial