President Trump Announces United States-Mexico Trade Agreement — NAFTA No More


The analysis preceded the announcement by U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday that a deal with Mexico has been reached, opening the door for Canada to rejoin negotiations that have dragged on for more than a year.

The Trump administration has reached a breakthrough in NAFTA talks with Mexico, clearing the way for Canada to return to the bargaining table for a mad dash to conclude a final deal.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto was patched in by phone, calling the deal "very positive" for both the U.S. and Mexico. "It's a big day for our country", Trump told reporters.

But after a year of intense negotiations to salvage NAFTA, US and Mexican negotiators are keen to seal a new deal before Pena Nieto hands power to President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on December 1.

Despite Trump's signal that the deal could lead to a bilateral trade agreement between the United States and Mexico, Peña Nieto, through a translator, expressed his "desire that now Canada will also be able to be incorporated in this".

The breakthrough between the USA and Mexico involved an agreement on the amount of North American content a vehicle must have in orderto pass duty-free across borders. That's also technically true for Congress because the administration notified US lawmakers that they were negotiating a "trilateral" agreement.

Reporters have been waiting all weekend for the US and Mexico to announce their handshake deal.

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Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is now overseas on a diplomatic trip to Germany, Ukraine and France. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said Monday that Mexico had agreed to ensure that 75 percent of automotive content be produced within the trade bloc (up from a current 62.5 percent) to receive duty-free benefits and that 40 percent to 45 percent be made by workers earning at least $16 an hour.

President Trump signaled a deal was close at the end of last week and did so again before the announcement Monday morning.

Canada plans to continue to negotiate, but would only sign a new agreement that is good for the country, a spokesman for Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said. A new NAFTA would need to accepted and ratified by all three countries before it takes effect.

"I believe the president is on the phone", Trump said, getting no response.

US Mexico NAFTA agreement includes 10 years of data protection for biologic drugs. A month of talks followed, in August, but a new roadblock emerged: Mexico's outgoing administration had a different position on foreign access to the country's energy sector than the incoming one, which delayed an agreement to this week.

"There are still issues with Canada but I think they could be resolved very quickly", the official said. But Trump has called the agreement "the worst deal maybe ever signed" and moved ahead with tariffs earlier this year.

A senior White House official added that Canada would be brought in to the trade discussions on Monday afternoon.