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Mexico Ratifies North America Trade Pact

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Mexico became the first country to ratify the tri-lateral North American trade agreement.

The Mexican Senate passed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) with overwhelming support. While 114 lawmakers supported it, only four voted against.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said it sends a clear message in favor of an open economy and deepening economic integration in the region.

"This means foreign investment in Mexico, jobs in Mexico, access to the US market for our products," according to the leftist leader.

US President Donald Trump congratulated his Mexican counterpart for the passage.

"Mexico voted to ratify the USMCA today by a huge margin. Time for Congress to do the same here," he tweeted.

The USMCA is subject to ratification by the US Congress and the Canadian parliament for it to come into force, but its passage in the United States is expected to be difficult as Democrats have some reservations against some of the provisions in it.

USMCA, which replaces the nearly 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), was signed on November 30 after several rounds of tough negotiations.

The deal requires that cars should be manufactured with 75 percent North American components to escape tariffs. Forty percent of each car must also be made in facilities where workers earn $16 an hour or more on average. Reciprocally, Canada has opened the door to its dairy markets for American farmers.

Trade experts say USMCA could be the forerunner to an economic and trade alliance against China.

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