Monday, 22 October, 2018


USA and Canada agree free trade deal

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Conrad Doyle | 04 October, 2018, 00:01

Automotive analysts have warned that the provision could have a damaging effect for Americans, by raising costs for USA auto buyers and incentivising automakers to move production to low-priced countries outside the United States, such as China.

The new NAFTA brings Canada into a bilateral deal struck by the USA and Mexico last month and comes after a frantic weekend of negotiations as the countries tried to meet a self-imposed deadline of midnight on Sunday.

On Monday, President Donald Trump announced that he had - sort of - delivered on one of his core campaign promises: a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). University of British Columbia professor Yves Tiberghien said all countries have some interventions but China "takes it to another degree".

"It's very, very unusual".

Most news reports say the issues that are outstanding can be breached and there is an optimistic tone, so there could be an opportunity to buy the Canadian dollar if liquidity is ample and if it hasn't moved to far.

As part of any agreement, Canada looks set to offer increased access to its highly protected dairy market, as it did in separate pacts with the European Union and Pacific nations.

"We got the right deal".

So the nuclear option was deployed: telling the president about Freeland and reminding him about the summer G7 meetings in Quebec, where Trudeau's closing news conference so agitated Trump that he used his Twitter feed to attack the prime minister from the confines of an airborne Air Force One. US and Canadian labour groups had wanted to increase the current 60 per cent threshold: the new threshold will eventually rise to 75 per cent.

"I stand for trade agreements that create jobs for Americans".

It's a "possibility which exists no matter what".

So the USMCA may raise the price of your auto, truck or SUV as manufacturers pass on the higher production costs, economists said.

Among the small-but-significant items in the new agreement is a measure to push Mexico to make it easier for workers to form and join labour unions, steps to allow U.S. financial services companies better access to Canadian and Mexican markets and a provision to extend the intellectual property protections of USA pharmaceutical companies selling prescription drugs in Canada.

It also follows a ratcheting up of the tit-for-tat trade war between the United States and China, where the two countries are taking turns imposing tariffs.

It was essential for the parties to reach the deal, coveted by industries in both states, before midnight, so that it could be signed by outgoing Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on his last day in office, December 1.

Huelsemeyer said the concessions in the USMCA are much smaller than those in CETA.

"Once approved, this will be a new dawn for the American auto industry and for the American auto worker", President Trump said. But Dan Ujczo, an worldwide trade lawyer with the US firm Dickinson Wright, said it would only apply to a very small percentage of vehicles that don't comply with the origin rules. Some 40 percent of a car's value today is electronics and other advanced intellectual property (IP), he says.

He agreed that its a sign Trump is trying to "drum up a coalition against China". It did agree to eliminate another form of enforcement between the United States and Canada, which allows investors to sue for relief from foreign countries' actions.

That makes sense, according to Miller who said the choice facing Canada was between the potential for future trade or access now.

"You saw three things come together", Uczjo said. With 70 per cent of Canadian exports going to the United States, the choice was clear. One of the officials said the discussions between Canada and the USA were ongoing, but progress was being made.

NAFTA 1.0 wasn't the bad deal President Trump said it was, but NAFTA 2.0 is an improvement and, more importantly, it tells us good things about Trump's skill at deal making. But that doesn't mean China won't have a lot of questions for the Canadian government.

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