Trump joins Canada, Mexico leaders to sign new trade pact

Canada on track for Friday signing of USMCA once details finalized: Freeland

The pact with Mexico and Canada stands as a "model agreement that changes the trade landscape forever", he said at a signing ceremony with the other leaders Friday in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Mr Trump hailed a political victory, having lamented the "terrible" North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) since the early days of his presidential run.

The new trade pact was precipitated by Trump's decision to get rid of the original NAFTA, which he's called the "worst trade deal" ever signed.

The opposition Democrats take control of the House in January.

"There's much more work to do in lowering trade barriers and in fostering growth that benefits everyone", Trudeau said.

USA objections to Canada's protected internal market for dairy products was a major challenge facing negotiators during the talks, and Trump repeatedly demanded concessions and accused Canada of hurting U.S. farmers.

"In addition, we urge the administration to turn its full attention to other trade issues that are harming our state, including the retaliatory tariffs China has levied on ME lobster and import taxes on steel that have significantly increased costs for manufacturers", the senators said.

And even as Trump, Trudeau and Peña Nieto - on his final day in office -signed the accord on the sidelines of the summit, officials from the three countries continued to haggle over terms for lifting USA tariffs, according to The Washington Post. Posing for photos in the gilded Salón Blanco, Trump spoke about their longtime personal relationship and said they would discuss trade, military purchases and other issues. Before Trump arrived in Argentina he injected additional drama into the proceedings by cancelling another high-stakes meeting, with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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"There's some good signs", Trump said.

On his final day as Mexico's president before Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is sworn in on Saturday, Pena Nieto said the trade agreement includes provisions for e-commerce and information technology.

Congress is likely to wait to vote on the deal until the United States International Trade Commission releases a report on the economic impact.

"This is not something where we have a piece of paper we can say yes or no to", she said at a news conference on Friday, noting that Mexico had yet to pass a law on wages and working conditions. The agreement includes a new rule, for example, that a auto will only be freed from tariffs if 40 per cent or more of its contents are produced by workers earning $16 (U.S.) per hour or more. The United States is naturally putting America first with USMCA. We've taken a lot of barbs and a little abuse, and we got there.

Top US officials were on hand for the signing, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, national security adviser John Bolton and the President's daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

For the record, the document's preamble refers to an "Agreement between the United States of America, the United Mexican States and Canada". However, ongoing differences over steel and aluminium tariffs the US has imposed on its northern and southern neighbours encroached on the celebratory moment.

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

Trump faces a series of diplomatic challenges over the weekend, most notably whether he can strike an agreement with Xi.

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