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Modest Gains for Trump in NAFTA Renegotiation

Canada opens up its dairy market. Mexico agrees to less favorable rules for cars.

On the heels of an arbitrary — and, it turns out, unnecessary — deadline, Canada, Mexico and the United States have finalized a renegotiation the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The new deal is called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA):

What’s in it?

From the Financial Times and Reuters:

  • Dairy: Expanded American access to Canada’s tightly regulated milk market.
  • Dispute resolution: An expert panel to resolve trade disputes, that has repeatedly ruled in favor of Canadian lumber exports, remains in place.
  • National security: America can still impose 25-percent tariffs on cars and car parts on national security grounds, but the new deal carves out generous exemptions for Canada and Mexico.
  • Rules of origin: The share of auto parts manufactured regionally to benefit from the trade agreement rises from 62.5 to 75 percent, which may benefit American companies.
  • Sunset clause: Unlike NAFTA, the new deal is set to expire in sixteen years.
  • Wages: 40 percent of a car’s value needs to be made in areas paying workers at least $16 per hour, which could shift production to Canada and the United States.

In short: A lot of fire and fury from Donald Trump — who refused to even meet Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly last week — but in the end only modest changes.

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