U.S., Canada Reach NAFTA Deal

Long and tense negotiations between Canada and the United States were finally completed after a year with Canada’s decision late Sunday to sign on to a trade deal between the U.S. and Mexico, a move that will likely revamp the trilateral North American Free Trade Agreement.

According to trade officials from both neighboring countries, the pact would grant U.S. farmers greater access to Canada’s dairy market and address concerns about potential U.S. auto tariffs. The latest developments represent a win for President Donald Trump, who promised during his campaign to renegotiate NAFTA.

The deal is now called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and aims to strengthen “the middle class, and create good, well-paying jobs and new opportunities for the nearly half a billion people who call North America home,” said a joint statement by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.

While the new agreement was hailed by many, some expressed concerns about whether it was worth escalating tensions with Canada, the U.S.’ major ally “for the sake of a few gallons of milk,” as Jeffrey Rosensweig, a business professor at Emory University, said.

The new deal is now to be sent to Congress which would mark the beginning of a 60-day review period during which Congress can suggest changes to the agreement before it is signed by President Trump.

Prior to the start of the weekend talks, some lawmakers pointed out that a deal without Canada was a no-go for them. “It would be a monumental mistake to do this without Canada. It’s basically surrendering on fixing NAFTA,” said Senator Ron Wyden, the top Democrat on the Senate committee that oversees trade.

Canada and Mexico are the United States’ two biggest export markets. Consequently, a deal which didn’t include one of them could cause chaos for businesses that rely on trade between the countries.

The new deal was signed exactly before the October 1 deadline, which the Trump administration imposed to be able to meet another deadline – December 1 when Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto leaves office.

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