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Leaders Of U.S., Canada, And Mexico Sign New Trade Agreement


President Donald Trump and the leaders of Canada and Mexico on Friday officially signed a new trade deal intended to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Standing alongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and outgoing Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, Trump described the signing of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement as a "very historic occasion."

"The USMCA is the largest, most significant, modern, and balanced trade agreement in history," Trump said. "All of our countries will benefit greatly."

He added, "In the United States, the new trade pact will support high-paying manufacturing jobs and promote greater access for American exports across the range of sectors, including our farming, manufacturing, and service industries."

Trump highlighted a provision of the deal requiring at least 75 percent of automobile content to be manufactured in North America.

On the heels of the recent plant closures and layoffs announced by General Motors (GM), Trump argued the deal will help stop auto jobs from going overseas and bring back auto jobs that have already left.

Trump also touted the agreement's intellectual property protections, provisions on digital trade and financial services, and environmental and labor protections.

"In short, this is a model agreement that changes the trade landscape forever," Trump said. "And this is an agreement that, first and foremost, benefits working people — something of great importance to all three of us here today."

"We've worked hard on this agreement. It's been long and hard," he added. "We've taken a lot of barbs and a little abuse. And we got there. It's great for all of our countries."

Meanwhile, Trudeau called the new agreement a major step for the Canadian economy but argued more work needs to done to lower trade barriers and foster growth that benefits everyone.

Trudeau specifically called on Trump to remove the steel and aluminum tariffs the U.S. has imposed on Canada and Mexico, referring to the president by his first name.

Trump repeatedly criticized NAFTA throughout the 2016 presidential race and renegotiating the three-nation trade pact was one of his key campaign promises.

The signing of the agreement by Trump, Trudeau and Peña Nieto is not the end of the road, however, as the deal still needs to be approved by Congress.

Trump said he doesn't expect to have very much of a problem getting Congressional approval of the deal, although some Democrats have already expressed opposition to the agreement's labor and environmental provisions.

With Democrats set to take control of the House in the next Congress, Trump may be forced to compromise to get the agreement approved.

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