TORONTO (AP) — Canada is back in a revamped North American free trade deal with the United States and Mexico after weeks of bitter, high-pressure negotiations that brushed up against a midnight deadline.
In a joint statement, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said the late Sunday agreement “will strengthen the middle class, and create good, well-paying jobs and new opportunities for the nearly half billion people who call North America home.”
The new deal, reached just before the midnight deadline imposed by the U.S., will be called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. It replaces the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement, of NAFTA, which President Donald Trump had called a job-killing disaster.
Trump on Monday morning called it a “great deal,” tweeting that it “solves the many deficiencies and mistakes in NAFTA, greatly opens markets to our Farmers and Manufacturers, reduces Trade Barriers to the U.S. and will bring all three Great Nations together in competition with the rest of the world.”
He added: “Congratulations to Mexico and Canada!”
The agreement reached Sunday gives U.S. farmers greater access to the Canadian dairy market. But it keeps a NAFTA dispute-resolution process that the U.S. wanted to jettison and offers Canada protection if Trump goes ahead with plans to impose tariffs on cars, trucks and auto parts imported into the United States.
“It’s a good day for Canada,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said as he left his office.
Trudeau said he would have more to say Monday.
“We celebrate a trilateral deal. The door closes on trade fragmentation in the region,” Jesus Seade, trade negotiator for Mexico’s incoming president, said via Twitter.
Representatives for the government of Mexican president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador called a press conference to discuss details of the trade deal on Monday.