Friday, 14 December, 2018

NRF Welcomes Signing of NAFTA Update, Urges Approval by Congress

Donald Trump says he'll terminate Nafta Trump says he'll be 'formally terminating NAFTA shortly' in a move that puts pressure on Congress
Lloyd Bates | 05 December, 2018, 04:27

The Vice President of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute expects the U.S. President to rescind the North American Free Trade Agreement to Pressure Congress into passing the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

"I will be formally terminating NAFTA shortly", Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One on his way home from Argentina.

The leaders of Canada, Mexico and the USA signed a revised North American free trade pact Friday on the margins of the G20 summit in Argentina that is set to govern more than $1.2 trillion in regional commerce. The revised deal has been renamed as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA.

"Congress will have a choice of approving the USMCA, which is a phenomenal deal, much, much better than NAFTA", said Trump, who has repeatedly threatened to pull out of NAFTA entirely.

Trump, for example, wrote in a Twitter post Sunday night that China had agreed to "reduce and remove" all tariffs on USA auto imports, a change that could have major implications for American companies shipping cars overseas.

"The work is not done yet", Brown said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday. This new deal - the full extent of which has not been released - will require approval in the next Congress.

The original NAFTA deal was signed in 1992 by former President George H.W. Bush.

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Numerous nation's largest ports have been reporting record container volume as shippers rushed to get those items into the United States or sent overseas before the higher tariffs took effect. U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says the agreement secures greater access to the Mexican and Canadian markets and lowered barriers for many American products.

Republicans, meanwhile, are angry over the LGBTQ protections in Section 23 of the USMCA, which call on the three countries to adopt policies for sexual orientation and gender identity, "in promotion of equality and elimination of employment discrimination".

"At 25 years old, NAFTA was in need of an update, particularly in areas like digital commerce that didn't exist a quarter-century ago", NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. And while there are some instances in which the president has acted unilaterally to terminate commercial treaties, far more cases have involved the participation of Congress, he said.

Two other Democratic Senators, Mark Warner of Virginia and Sherrod Brown of OH, fell short of a commitment to back the agreement on Sunday.

"We are waiting to see enforcement provisions relating to workers and the environment", Pelosi said Friday in a statement, describing the deal as a "work in progress".

The agreement does include a 16-year sunset provision, but the three countries will meet every six years to decide whether to renew the pact, which potentially keeps the agreement going in perpetuity. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida tweeted on Friday that the deal as drafted would put Florida's seasonal vegetable growers "out of business".

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