Thursday, 18 October, 2018

President Trump touts 'historic' USMCA

A car hauler heads for Detroit on the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor Ontario Canada in 2017 A car hauler heads for Detroit on the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor Ontario Canada in 2017
Elsie Buchanan | 02 October, 2018, 17:39

Despite vows to slash the program, the Trump administration on Monday agreed to allow tens of thousands - if not hundreds of thousands - of Canadian engineers, doctors and nurses who come to work in the United States to keep their visas as part of the new USA trade pact with Canada and Mexico, according to senior administration officials.

Ratifying the deal is likely to stretch into 2019 because once Trump and the leaders from Canada and Mexico sign the agreement, the administration and congressional leaders will need to write legislation to implement the deal and win passage in Congress. "I am pleased that the Trump administration was able to strike a deal to modernize NAFTA with both Mexico and Canada", said Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.

In another tweet, Mr. Trump said the new agreement "greatly opens markets to our Farmers and Manufacturers, reduce [s] Trade Barriers to the USA and will bring all three Great Nations closer together in competition with the rest of the world".

"We were hoping that times were going to get better", Maxwell said.

The deal touches a variety of economic dimensions.

"Protecting our auto industry was one of the core concerns that Canadians had about getting to a deal, and we're glad to say that we have significant protections".

Under NAFTA, he alleged, foreign companies have been allowed to manufacture many of their parts overseas, ship them to Mexico and Canada for assembling, and send their foreign-made cars into the U.S. with no tax. The US had also sought increased American content for duty-free autos. North America can and should have a bright future built on a foundation of cooperation. Anything short of that, and the vehicle is not considered a "North American good".

"It will transform North America back into a manufacturing powerhouse", he said.

Under the new USMCA deal, Canada must amend its domestic grain-grading standards for wheat to match the existing American policy.

How will this affect tariffs on dairy?

Trump has always been critical of Canada's dairy regulations, tweeting in June that their tariffs are "not fair to our farmers".

Additionally, while speaking to reporters, Trump said that USMCA, which "has a good ring to it", is about fairness and reciprocity.

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"The Canadian dairy market will now be filled by surplus milk", from the U.S., David Wiens, vice-president of the Dairy Farmers of Canada, told Bloomberg.

President Trump has repeatedly criticized Canada on social media for the Class 7 system, which applies to ultra-filtered milk, a high-protein product used in making cheese and yogurt.

Currently, B.C. only allows for locally produced wines to be sold inside grocery stores.

The deal appears to preserve the key dispute-resolution provisions- Chapter 19-which allow for independent panels to resolve disputes involving companies and governments, as well as Chapter 20, the government-to-government dispute settlement mechanism.

But the deal failed to resolve USA tariffs on Canada's steel and aluminum exports.

It's also a setback for groups like NumbersUSA and Federation for American Immigration Reform that have been lobbying the Trump administration to cut the number of visas.

But aside from the rules concerning auto parts and wage rates, the changes represent mostly a symbolic shift, with the deal making most of its impact felt "on the margins", said Doh of Villanova.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce said it was relieved that an agreement in principle had been reached. That's good for OH auto workers, bad for Mexico's cheap labor. Chicken, eggs, turkeys and American wheat are also headed north in greater volumes.

Before that happens, there are a number of hurdles that require clearing - and in the meantime, old NAFTA is still in effect.

The 3.59 per cent cut follows previous market share losses through the European deal and in the Trans-Pacific agreement.

The three-way deal was reached September 30.

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