U.S., Canada, Mexico sign trade deal after last-minute brinkmanship

Mr. Rota goes to Washington

U.S., Canada, Mexico sign trade deal after last-minute brinkmanship

-Mexico agreed to historic labor reforms to provide for genuine collective bargaining.

Even as Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto - on his final day in office - prepared to sign the deal on the sidelines of the G-20 meeting, officials from the three countries were continuing to haggle over terms for lifting the US tariffs, and details of the signing ceremony were in flux.

The deal is meant to replace the 24-year-old North American trade pact, which Mr Trump had described as a "disaster".

Friday marked an important deadline for the trade pact. Before Trump arrived in Argentina he injected additional drama into the proceedings by canceling another high-stakes meeting, with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

PHOTO: Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto, President Donald Trump and Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attend the USMCA signing ceremony before the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nov. 30, 2018.

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"It's been long and hard".

"Battles sometimes make great friendships", Trump said.

'President Trump spoke with Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau this morning, ' spokesman Hogan Gidley said in a statement.

Trump had repeatedly criticized NAFTA, which has governed North American trade since 1994, calling it "the worst trade deal in history". "And Donald, it's all the more reason why we need to keep working to remove the tariffs on steel and aluminum between our countries".

Trump acknowledged that Friday was Pena Nieto's last day in office and congratulated him on the achievement of signing on to the deal.

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"Our objective has always been to sign this agreement on November 30 and we are on track to hit that objective", Freeland said shortly after the Canadian delegation arrived in Argentina for the two-day summit.

The Trump administration worked tirelessly with leaders in Mexico to form a trade agreement that then prompted Canadian officials to swiftly travel to the U.S.in attempts to join the trade pact and form a new North American trade pact. The agreement will still need Congressional approval. The White House said USMCA will govern $1.2 trillion in trade, making it the largest trade deal in USA history.

"It's been so well reviewed I don't expect to have very much of a problem", Trump said.

Vows to scrap NAFTA and replace it with a better deal also were staples of Trump's campaign rallies across the industrial Midwest in 2016. He threatened to tear it up and withdraw the US completely at times during the negotiation, which would have left trade between the three neighbors in disarray.

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.

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It preserves a contentious dispute-resolution system the US dearly wanted gone, extends patent protections for biologic drugs and allows USA farmers a 3.6-per-cent share of Canada's famously guarded market for poultry, eggs and dairy products - a concession that dismayed Canadian dairy producers.

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