Trudeau made a personal plea to Trump during the ceremony to get rid of the tariffs, saying the recent closures of auto plants by General Motors in the United States and Canada made it more important.
Trump ceremoniously signed the new agreement, called the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement, in Buenos Aires this morning with Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexico's President Enrique Peña Nieto.
When the three countries reached the deal at the end of September, Trump said he was not at all confident of obtaining congressional approval. And Trump is facing a House of Representatives controlled by the Democrats.
The concession from Ottawa removed a major sticking point that Trump said was a deal breaker. Trump had commented how the USA did not like Canada's negotiation style.
In an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Dairy Farmers of Canada warn the PM that the current text of the new USMCA agreement contains a provision that would grant the U.S. oversight into the administration of the Canadian dairy system, something they claim will undermine Canadian sovereignty.
This has been a battle, and battles sometimes make great friendships.
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Canada's dairy lobby urged Trudeau this week not to sign the agreement unless it was changed to give the USA less influence over the industry.
Nieto explained the USMCA "is the first trade agreement that incorporates elements that address the social impact of global trade; it enables the participation of more sectors in the economy". The unresolved tariff fight will sap private sector support for the USMCA deal, said Rufus Yerxa, president of the National Foreign Trade Council in the U.S.
BDI, Germany's main industry association, said in a statement that the autos rules of origin were "a retrograde step compared with NAFTA". Instead, Trump focused on the size of the agreement and new opportunities for American businesses. "And also, this is the struggle in the battle of our time will the United States or China to be the economic superpower of the 21st century". And while we don't know the final details of the USMCA, we do know that it largely resembles, in many ways, what was there before.
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters in the Argentine capital on Friday that the "modest increase" in USA dairy access was granted to help reach an agreement that provides the country with the "stability and predictability" of a deal that protects $2-billion a day in cross-border trade.
Retaliatory tariffs by Mexico have harmed USA dairy and pork farmers.
As a candidate, Trump had decried NAFTA - signed by his opponent's husband - as the "single worst deal ever approved". "We've taken a lot of barbs and a little abuse, but we got there", Trump said of the pact.
But some senior Democratic leaders have expressed concern that those new provisions aren't enforceable, including Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Richard Neal, who's set to take over the House Ways and Means Committee next year.
She added that she will vote on the deal only if President Trump revises it.