(UPI) — A historic new trade agreement with Canada represents a “new dawn for the American auto industry” that will transform the United States back into a “manufacturing powerhouse,” President Donald Trump said Monday.
The $1.2 trillion trade agreement replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Trump vowed to repeal during his presidential campaign.
“Today we have kept that promise,” Trump said. “But for 25 years as a civilian and businessman I used to say, ‘How could anyone sign such an agreement?’ With this agreement we are closing all of these terrible loopholes, they’re closed, they’re gone. They were a disaster.”
The new agreement was reached before Sunday’s midnight deadline and will incorporate the United States’ trade deal with Mexico that was reached in August.
Trump coined a new name for the trade deal: United States Mexico Canada Agreement.
The replacement for NAFTA includes new provisions on digital trade and intellectual property.
The agreement will benefit farmers, ranchers and automobile workers, Trump said. Under the agreement, 75 percent of every automobile must be built in North America. The auto industry in particular, which was hit hard by NAFTA, will see the biggest benefit.
“We will be manufacturing many more cars,” Trump said. “Our companies won’t be leaving the United States, firing their workers and building their cars elsewhere. There’s no longer that incentive.”
Trump’s hard line on trade is having an impact far beyond North America, with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe saying more automakers will be moving factories to the United States.
The threat of tariffs has brought India to the negotiating table and Trump said he’s confident other countries, too.
“Without tariffs, we wouldn’t be talking about a deal,” Trump said. “Japan is wanting to negotiate. India, the tariff king, also wants to negotiate.”
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Schrystia Freeland said in a joint statement the new deal strengthens the middle class and creates well-paying jobs and new opportunities.
The USMCA is regarded by some a big policy win for Trump and Republicans heading into the Nov. 6 midterm elections. It’s unclear how long it will take to ratify the deal, since the U.S., Mexican and Canadian governments must approve it.
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