Trump signs Nafta replacement, but hurdles remain in Congress

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'Donald it's all the more reason we need to remove the tariffs on steel and aluminum between our two countries, ' Trudeau said.

"In the United States, the new trade pact will support high-paying manufacturing jobs and promote greater access for American exports across the range of sectors including our farming, manufacturing and service industries", Trump said.

Trump spoke first at the signing ceremony for the three presidents to sign the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) - a revamp of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), based on Trump's urging.

The deal still needs to be approved by Congress, but Trump said that he doesn't "expect to have much of a problem" getting that accomplished.

The opposition Democrats take control of the House in January.

"Canadians got here because Team Canada was driven by the interests of the middle class", Trudeau said.

Relations between the USA and Canada took repeated blows during the negotiation Trump initiated in August 2017, largely because of his public attacks on Trudeau.

In his remarks Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stressed the importance of locking down an agreement while he stood with Trump and outgoing Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

"This has been a battle, and battles sometimes make great friendships", Trump said at the start of the signing ceremony.

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The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the proposed successor to NAFTA, would allow the first $150 (Canadian) of goods bought in the US and shipped to Canada to be duty-free.

A "North America free trade agreement" was often referred to in coverage in both Canada and the USA well ahead of the October 1992 ceremony in San Antonio, Texas, in which Mexico signed on.

The USMCA replaces NAFTA, which in 1994 had created a free trade zone between the three countries.

"The new agreement lifts the risk of serious economic uncertainty that lingers throughout the trade renegotiation process - uncertainty that would have only gotten worse and more damaging had we not reached a new NAFTA", Trudeau said. It updates the trade pact to reflect the rise of the digital economy since the original NAFTA took effect almost a quarter century ago.

Pena Nieto said the new deal will provide a more "modern framework" for future exchanges between the countries.

Although the United States has federal laws barring discrimination on the basis of sex and courts are increasingly interpreting them to bar anti-LGBT discrimination, no explicit federal law is in place against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. ME companies mostly dodged Canadian tariffs imposed this summer in retaliation for the steel and aluminum taxes. The president falsely claimed the new deal was "the largest trade deal ever made" (the Trans-Pacific Partnership, from which he withdrew the United States, was larger), and asserted that it will lead to "high wages and higher wages" in the auto industry and bring back jobs that have been moved overseas.

Trump also expressed optimism about a deal on trade with China, telling reporters "There's some good signs". Coming into this G-20, he faces a series of diplomatic challenges - most notably whether he can strike an agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping to ease trade tensions that have rattled financial markets.

Other documents related to the agreement that were signed include a critical side letter on the automotive sector that could ensure Canada avoids punitive tariffs on its auto exports to the United States if the Trump administration proceeds with threats to begin taxing foreign vehicles and automotive parts at up to 25 per cent.

Trump was greeted warmly at the Casa Rosada by Argentine President Mauricio Macri, a longtime business acquaintance.