Published: Fri, November 30, 2018
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

Donald Trump signs USMCA with Mexico and Canada at G-20

Donald Trump signs USMCA with Mexico and Canada at G-20

The signing ceremony in and of itself represented a political victory for Trump, who has been eager to mark the deal with a formal photo opportunity alongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and outgoing Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.

President Donald Trump has tried to claim renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement as a monumental achievement of his administration, but Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau coldly undermined the president's ploy on Friday at a signing ceremony for the new deal.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland speaks to media on the roof of the Panamericano Hotel in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on November 29, 2018.

"We have worked hard on this agreement", Trump said.

"A vast number of technical details need to be scrubbed and wrapped up", she added.

The Friday deadline is important as new Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrado is being swore into office on Saturday and he could scramble the hard-fought agreement between the three nations.

Signing the deal is largely ceremonial; it still requires ratification by all three countries before it can formally take effect.

Mr. Trump called the massive trade deal dubbed the U.S. "Family farm groups in all three countries insisted on new rules to rebuild rural economies and food systems".

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But the three leaders sat down to put ink to paper, signing a deal that has a few questions hanging over it - mainly the fate of steel and aluminum tariffs the USA imposed on its North American neighbors.

"Donald, it's all the more reason why we need to keep working to remove the tariffs on steel and aluminum between our two countries", Trudeau said. -This includes a requirement that 40-45% of a vehicle consist of content manufactured by North American workers making at least $16 per hour.

Among other things, the agreement also lengthens copyrights for creative works and patent protection for certain sophisticated medicines, slightly opens up the protected Canadian dairy industry to USA access and eliminates the long-controversial "Chapter 11" provision between Canada and the US allowing investors to sue governments for allegedly violating their rights.

Given that continuity, a number of family farm organizations from the US and Canada including the National Farmers Union Canada and the USA -based National Family Farm Coalition have urged a better deal, one "that promotes fair and sustainable food systems".

"The current final text of the USMCA will cause further harm to the Canadian dairy industry", they wrote.

All three leaders stood at lecturns adorned with the U.S. presidential seal, with Trump taking the middle position.

Despite the symbolism of Friday's signing, Trump has no meetings with Trudeau scheduled while the two are in Argentina.

Trudeau and Trump discussed their plans for the G20 summit in a November 27 phone call, according to the White House.

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