North American leaders sign NAFTA replacement deal

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But at the joint signing ceremony on Friday in Buenos Aires, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau referred to it as "the new NAFTA", with the Canadian government's website displaying the table of contents for the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) - no "trade", and mind the hyphens.

The signing came at the beginning of a packed two days of diplomacy for the American president that will conclude with high-stakes talks Saturday with Chinese President Xi Jinping on ways to ease an escalating trade war between the two countries.

Canada's dairy lobby urged Trudeau this week not to sign the agreement unless it was changed to give the US less influence over the industry.

Trudeau also brought up the recent announcement by General Motors that the company will be closing several factories in both the US and Canada, calling it a "heavy blow". But he also used the ceremony to call on Trump to remove steel and aluminum tariffs the USA slapped on Canada and Mexico.

The trade deal was born out of 11th hour negotiations and acrimonious clashes over steel, security issues and supply management.

He also claimed the USMCA - as he named the replacement for NAFTA - would bring back US auto jobs and was 'an fantastic deal for our farmers'. "The USMCA is the largest, most significant, modern, and balanced trade agreement in history", President Trump summarized.

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'The new agreement will assure a new prosperity, ' he added.

But Trump publicly announced his decision to effectively give the prince a pass in the name of "America First", making vastly exaggerated claims of Saudi military contracts and investments in the United States.

'It's been so well reviewed I don't anticipate much of a problem, ' he said. It updates the trade pact to reflect the rise of the digital economy since the original NAFTA took effect almost a quarter century ago.

The new agreement directly benefits farmers and manufacturers with a commitment from Canada to reduce trade-distorting policies and improve transparency.

Trump's Friday schedule also includes an informal meeting with Australia's new prime minister. Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland noted that the signing follows "what has been, at times, a hard process". "Instead, we have a deal that locks in numerous old rules that have driven farmers out of agriculture for more than two decades".

There are a few areas still to iron out. After the signing, USA trade chief Robert Lighthizer told reporters that negotiations are ongoing but that they see the tariffs as successful policy, CBC reported.

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But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with his Saudi counterpart in Buenos Aires , and again defended the USA embrace of the crown prince.

"There is much more work to do in lowering trade barriers and in fostering growth that benefits everyone, but reaching a new free trade agreement with the United States and Mexico is a major step for our economy".

'A vast number of technical details need to be scrubbed and wrapped up, ' Freeland said.

Trump noted the signing in Argentina comes on the last day in office for the Mexican president, who is being succeeded by leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, elected five months ago.

The new agreement must be ratified by the parliaments in each of the three countries in order to take effect.

Trudeau and Trump discussed their plans for the G20 summit in a November 27 phone call, according to the White House.

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 USA oversight into the administration of the Canadian dairy system, something they claim will undermine Canadian sovereignty.

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