Appearing alongside Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires, President Donald Trump hailed the ceremonial signing Friday of the new USMCA trade agreement and framed it as the conclusion of an at times contentious fight that has produced "great friendships" for the three leaders.
A day before Canada, the United States and Mexico are due to sign a new trade pact, the three sides are still finalizing some of the details, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Thursday.
-The new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will replace the outdated, failed North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Friday's signing ceremony is a crowning moment for Trump, who loves to tout his deal-making prowess.
There is more work to be done, Trudeau said, calling the recent announcement that General Motors will close plants in Canada and the United States "a heavy blow".
The USMCA emerged in early October, months after Trump hit Mexico and Canada with tariffs on their steel and aluminum products. After the signing, US trade chief Robert Lighthizer told reporters that negotiations are ongoing but that they see the tariffs as successful policy, CBC reported. "That should be true for NAFTA and true for every deal we cut".
Canada has repeatedly referred to the new trade deal as the "New NAFTA" rather than USMCA.
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But the larger challenge remains retooling the global economy, experts say. "We are not inventing the wheel", he said. The three reports in question are the U.N.
"As is always the case ... with these agreements, there are always details to be finalized and we are very hard at work doing that", Freeland said in televised remarks.
American dairy and pork farmers have been particularly hurt by retaliatory Mexican tariffs.
The Friday deadline is important as new Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrado is being swore into office on Saturday and he could scramble the hard-fought agreement between the three nations.
"The fact that this is an agreement in three languages adds to the level of technical complexity and it is on that level that we are just being sure that all the Is are dotted and all the Ts are crossed", Freeland said Thursday afternoon, speaking on a hotel patio in Buenos Aires.
Outgoing Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto is attending the G20 meeting. 'The two leaders discussed their disappointment in the announced closures of General Motors plants in their respective countries and their plans for the upcoming G20 Summit'.
Mr Trudeau added that "the benefits of free trade must be broadly and fairly shared", before criticising USA tariffs on steel and aluminium.
Even as Trump celebrates the new deal as a win for the country, the agreement still needs to be ratified by the new Congress, where Democrats believe the new deal doesn't protect American workers. 'The Prime Minister also reinforced the importance of both countries lifting the tariffs on steel and aluminum'.