Friday, 19 October, 2018

Donald Trump says new trade deal is 'most important ever'

Jodi Jackson | 02 October, 2018, 12:38

Late Sunday, the Trump administration announced it had reached a three-way trade agreement with Canada and Mexico, the U.S. -Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), replacing the NAFTA agreement that had been in place since 1994. Canada also agreed to open up some of its dairy market to USA producers.

Trumps statement came just days after Assistant US Trade Representative Mark Linscott returned from India after having a detailed discussion with senior Indian officials on bilateral trade.

Canada's efforts to forge trade deals with other countries are now far less likely to lead to free-trade negotiations with China, experts predict, because of a clause in the new North American deal that appears to give the United States unprecedented leverage over its partners' other trading relationships.

USMCA is said by analysts to be similar to NAFTA in many respects but there is improved access for USA agricultural goods, including the dairy products which Canada in particular had tried to limit.

"Canadians are polite, we're reasonable, but we also will not be pushed around", the prime minister said at the time. "We fail to see how this deal can be good for the 220,000 Canadian families that depend on dairy for their livelihood".

Not too long ago Trump was flinging insults at Trudeau over Twitter, taunting him as "very dishonest & weak" and "meek and mild" in June as he left a G-7 summit in Canada that the prime minister had hosted.

While understanding the deal is still preliminary, Canadian dairy farmers will still feel the pinch from losing more market access, said a Dairy Farmer of Ontario representative.

"In short, we think this is a fantastic agreement for the United States but also for Canada and Mexico".

Elsewhere, US farmers will get greater access to Canada's dairy market through an increased quota on foreign imports.

Canada will also give the USA more access to its supply managed dairy system, which controls output by matching production with demand through quotas and import tariffs.

However, the deal has failed to resolve USA tariffs on Canada's steel and aluminium exports.

Canada agreed to a cap on auto exports to the USA - of about 40 per cent above current production levels - that would be free of any auto tariffs Trump might impose, the source said.

These U.S. officials also said the deal includes stronger rules of origin for autos, an "ambitious" slate of other provisions related to the digital age, and a termination provision aimed at preventing the deal from becoming outdated.

According to The Washington Post, the new deal requires that 75 percent of exempt from duty to be made in North America versus 62.5 percent under NAFTA. "This goes both ways, of course, and assures that Canada gets information on all U.S".

It said the measures will have "a dramatic impact not only for dairy farmers but for the whole sector". However, they would also upend North American supply chains and complicate life for USA companies.

President Donald Trump said he plans to sign the updated version of NAFTA by the end of November, which will then be submitted to Congress for approval. "Let's talk about what Canadians want, which is to be able to buy wine from a Canadian winery and have it shipped to them".

Trudeau and Freeland were scheduled to speak to premiers at 11 a.m. Monday, followed by a press conference at noon.

Canada had opposed USA demands to weaken or eliminate NAFTA'S dispute resolution mechanism, whose arbitration panels Ottawa used to resolve trade conflicts, and to defend against United States anti-dumping and countervailing duties, notably against its important lumber industry.

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