US President Donald Trump announced on Monday August 27 that, the United Stated and Mexico have reached a trade agreement. At an event held in the Oval Office, which Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto joined through phone call, Trump said, he would like to call the agreement the United States-Mexico trade agreement, the U.S. is going to get rid of the name NAFTA, as it doesn’t work in favor of the United State.
Enrique Peña Nieto insisted that Canada be included as a party in a final deal. Trump said he also hoped to resume negotiations with Canada and would talk with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau soon. The president said the United States and Canada will have a deal, either on the issue of car tariff or some kind of a negotiated deal, and he himself thought the car tariff would be an easier direction to go.
The US is pressing ahead with NAFTA talks after the Trump administration carried out national security investigation into auto imports.
Adam Austen, a spokesperson for Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, said on Monday that Canada had kept regular contact with negotiators concerned, and would “continue to work toward a modernized NAFTA,” but would only sign an agreement if it is good for Canada, and its middle class.
US Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer, who was also at the Oval Office, said he would submit a notice to Congress on Friday August 31, and hope the new trade agreement to be signed before December.
According to a senior official, the new agreement will be subject to congressional approval upon which, it will last 16 years and be subject to review every six years, and once the agreement passes the review, it would be extended for another 16 years.
Orrin Hatch, Senate Finance Committee Chairman, called the president’s announcement “an important step toward modernizing NAFTA”, meanwhile, he emphasized the important role of Canada and said “a final agreement should include Canada.” He also said in a statement that he is looking forward to reviewing details of the announcement and continuing to work with USTR on solutions to thorny issues of common concerns, including changes to dispute resolutions, a US-proposed five-year sunset clause, rules of origin for the auto industry, in this way, the renewed NAFTA can make its way through the Congress before it can become law.
The finance committee is the main panel of the Senate who oversees trade issues, and its approval plays a key role in any trade agreement.
Talks surrounding restarting negotiation on the overhauled NAFTA began in August 2017, as Trump threatened to pull the US out of the Canada-Mexico-the United States trilateral trade deal, because the president found the NAFTA “a horrible disaster” for American industries and job market.