Publicado: Sol, Octubre 07, 2018
Financiera | Por Marilu Caballero

Trump says USMCA doesn’t lift steel, aluminum tariffs

Trump says USMCA doesn’t lift steel, aluminum tariffs

Mexico, which is the number one importer of USA dairy, had slapped a 25% tariff on the product after the Trump Administration placed tariffs on their aluminum and steel.

The proposed new agreement, replacing the North American Free Trade agreement, covers the same three countries.

Canada and the US reached an agreement, alongside Mexico a new free trade deal, called the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), according to a joint statement from US and Canada on Sunday.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer added that the tariffs are a completely separate issue from the trade deal as far as the administration is concerned.

"As we review the agreement text, we will be looking to ensure that this deal opens markets, raises standards, provides enforcement and modernizes trade rules so that manufacturers across the United States can grow our economy", NAM President and Chief Executive Officer Jay Timmons said.

USMCA includes a provision calling for Canada and the United States to recognize Mexico's "direct, inalienable and imprescriptible ownership of hydrocarbons" within its territory, including the continental shelf.

According to reports, the USMCA includes increased access to the Canadian dairy market for USA farmers, along with increased labor protections for workers.

Under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) tighter country of origin rules and labour standards for the vehicle and garment manufacturing industries mean production of those products could shift back to North America, which would be a blow to Asian producers. "We never believed that it would be easy, and it wasn't, but today is a good day for Canada".

"Most of effects ... have already been absorbed in Southeast Asia", he said. "We got a deal that I think most Canadians can live with".

Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo, who led his country's trade negotiations, said the agreement was an attempt to make the region more competitive versus Asia and Europe.

Mexico's president-elect, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, takes office on December 1. "Certainly worse than the NAFTA deal we had before". It was unclear, however, whether Trump had authority from Congress to pursue a revamped NAFTA with only Mexico.

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Roland Paris, a former foreign policy adviser to Trudeau, expressed relief that the deal is done but anxious about the long-term relationship between the two countries.

He then vowed to cut Canada out of any new deal between the USA and Mexico. "NAFTA is a proven success".

Keeping that provision, previously known as chapter 19 under NAFTA, was one of Canada's lines in the sand, though the US initially wanted to eliminate it.

Earlier Sunday, David MacNaughton, Canada's ambassador to the United States, had said there was "lots of progress, but we're not there yet", before heading back to Washington from Ottawa.

But relations between Ottawa and Washington soured.

President Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shake hands during a meeting in the Oval Office in February.

The two countries need each other economically. So, from an Iowa farmer perspective, Secretary Naig and our entire department were really focused on making sure that we've got zero tariff barriers both in Mexico and in Canada.

After the announcement, the Canadian dollar gained around 0.5 percent to its highest rate against the U.S. dollar since May.

"It takes a cloud and lifts it off the Canadian economy", said Bruce Heyman, the former US ambassador to Canada.

After Trump's news conference, "the only difference was that instead of seeing the glass half-full, I was seeing it half-empty", MacNaughton chuckled in an interview.

"It has been shocking and disappointing and upsetting", said Bruce Heyman, a former US ambassador to Canada.

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