Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

Canada's finance minister touts USMCA but says dairy, steel sectors need help

United States President Donald J. Trump speaks to the media US president Donald Trumps says the agreement was"truly historic
Laurie Berry | 06 October, 2018, 03:39

Canadians learned this week that Canada has negotiated a draft NAFTA agreement with the United States and Mexico.

The pact, now called the U.S. -Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, will give American farmers greater access to Canada's dairy market and require automakers to make more of their vehicle's parts in North America (if they don't want to pay tariffs).

"That's the motherlode, that's the big one", U.S. President Donald Trump said last week during his explosive news conference on the margins of the UN General Assembly in NY.

Many economists have said Trump's tariffs will push up costs for American consumers and business and ultimately produce a drag on the U.S. economy.

"Without tariffs", Trump bold declared Monday after his team announced that Canada had followed Mexico in agreeing to a revamped North American deal, "we wouldn't be standing here".

The new agreement provides protection for manufacturing jobs in North America, while improving market access for a number of industry sectors. The two sides were hoping to finalize the pact overnight ahead of an announcement on Monday, The Globe and Mail said. GM gained 1.6%, and Ford climbed 0.8%.

"While it's possible to conclude that the deal consists largely of tweaks to the old agreement, we believe reduced uncertainty about the U.S".

"The most important gain from this agreement is retaining our access to the USA market and Canadians understand that", Freeland said.

"We've done this in 14 months", said Lighthizer during a press conference about the agreement.

"What was lost along the way here", Wood said, "was political good will on the part of Mexico and Canada". "Without tariffs, we wouldn't be standing here", he said. The deal addresses adding new markets and expanding agricultural exports along with rural jobs.

A NAFTA collapse could have caused USA farmers, a key Trump constituency, to lose access to major agricultural markets in Canada and Mexico at the same time that China has halted purchases of U.S. soybeans and other commodities due to a tariff war.

"Without tariffs we wouldn't be talking about a deal", he said.

China slams USA over naval op in South China Sea
The Chinese defence ministry said yesterday it opposes the USA warship's entry into the waters "around China's islands and reefs". Twice last week, the United States sent B-52H Stratofortress heavy long-range bombers tearing through the South China Sea .

Reporters asked Trudeau Tuesday how he planned to report his progress with China to the US, per the new agreement.

The Canadian dollar strengthened to a four-month high against the United States dollar, while the Mexican peso rose to near a two-month high against the greenback.

Yesterday (30 September), the National Association of Manufacturers' president and CEO Jay Timmons released a statement applauding the new USMCA, adding it creates more opportunities for U.S. manufacturing workers, especially as the trade relationship with China has recently turned sour. IMF chief Christine Lagarde said the fund is poised to cut the global growth outlook, with its next update to the forecast due next week.

She said the insertion of a minimum wage level for auto parts workers could lead to similar clauses in other trade deals: "If it turns out to be very politically popular in the USA it could [be used again]".

Trudeau fired back, "We won't sign a bad deal for Canada".

"It is a good night for Mexico, and for North America", Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray tweeted.

The president said he was having a "successful negotiation" with the EU.

Auto makers, particularly from Europe and Asia, may be pushed to move more of their supply chain into the region.

Trump also said he is employing tariffs as a negotiating tactic, which were effective in helping solidify the USMCA. But the agreement will now push Canada's current copyright terms, which stood at 50 years past the author's life, to 70 years so that it can fall in line with US protections.

But the president said his administration had not yet agreed to lift tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, a contentious issue between the two neighbors. As Robertson said MacNaughton told him last week, "Whether we get a deal or not, the campaign continues - it's a permanent campaign". "We have survived the 14 roller coaster months of a very unpredictable president". As former Conservative trade minister Stockwell Day told the Post, given Trump's aggressive attitude towards China, "It's clearly intended as a "beware" note to us".

Mexico's Guajardo on Monday said the new accord could be signed by the three countries' leaders when they meet at a Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires in late November.

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