New trade agreement a win for Montana agriculture

Virginia Carson
December 5, 2018

PRESIDENT Donald Trump announced his intention late on Saturday to quickly withdraw the United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement, a move meant to force House Democrats to enact a revised version of the pact despite concerns that it fails to protect American workers.

President Donald Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One late Saturday night that he and President Xi of China had come to an initial agreement that would be one of the largest deals ever made.

He said they can choose between the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement or 'pre-NAFTA, which works very well'.

In many ways he's in the same situation that Bill Clinton was in 1994 when he wanted to implement the original North American Free Trade Agreement and most Democrats in the House of Representatives voted against the NAFTA but a majority of Republicans supported it and he was able to secure enough Democratic votes for it to pass in both the House and the Senate. Kester says the agreement brings the trading relationship with US neighbors into the 21st-century.

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The new deal got early backing from one key figure in the debate: Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who beginning in January will chair the Senate Finance Committee that will consider the pact.

Both discussions, driven largely by Trump and US trade representative Robert E. Lighthizer, are at the center of the White House's agenda and could have profound implications for the global economy if negotiations collapse.

"As it stands, this agreement has not earned the support of America's working families", he said in a statement.

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. 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. Most notably, the USMCA gives tariff-free access to imported US wheat for long-time flour-milling customers in Mexico.

, Canada, Mexico sign trade deal to replace NAFTA
He added later: "We've taken a lot of barbs and a little abuse, and we got there". The United States is naturally putting America first with USMCA.

Trump said the new deal was a model agreement that would stop auto jobs from going overseas, protect intellectual property rights and provide robust protections for digital trade and financial services.

"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.

"Whatever they're calling it now, it has some kind of gobbledygook name - the trade agreement formerly known as Prince", Pelosi remarked Friday, "no, I mean, formerly known as NAFTA - is a work in progress".

Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, of California, said she is not yet ready to judge the new trade deal but was dismissive of it.

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"I think it would require some kind of administrative action in order to bring the FTA back into being and whether the United States would be inclined to do that I don't know".

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