Late Sunday night, negotiators for the United States, Canada, and Mexico announced they had reached an agreement on an update to the North American Free Trade Agreement. While Mexico and the United States had already reached a deal in August, negotiations between Canada and the U.S. had stalled over several issues.
The agreement, which will now be called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, includes a number of key "wins" for all three countries. Canada has agreed to open its dairy market to U.S. farmers; Canada and Mexico will be partially protected from any future U.S. tariffs on cars; and NAFTA's independent settlement dispute mechanism will remain in place (the U.S. had sought to eliminate it, while Canada insisted it must remain). The agreement also includes some changes to NAFTA's provisions surrounding intellectual property, online commerce, and biologic drugs, as well as some provisions meant to shift automobile manufacturing back to the U.S. and improve protections and conditions for workers in all three countries. The agreement does not address the contentious steel and aluminum tariffs the U.S. imposed earlier this year on both Canada and Mexican imports.
Leaders of all three countries have hailed the agreement as a trade milestone. At a White House press conference, President Donald Trump described the "truly historic" new deal as a campaign promise kept. "It will transform North America back into a manufacturing powerhouse," Trump said.
The trilateral trade deal still must be ratified by the U.S. Congress. While many in the GOP have praised the deal, Democrats and some labor groups have already expressed skepticism. The president of United Steelworkers International issued a press release warning that "[t]he effort to achieve the goal of a fair trade agreement that protects workers in the United States, Canada and Mexico is far from over."