Trump on trade deal with Mexico, Canada: 'Battles sometimes make great friendships'

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But while Trump proudly refers to the USMCA - a title that again puts the United States in the leading position - Trudeau pointedly called the deal being signed the "new North American Free Trade Agreement" and the "modernising NAFTA". But tensions over tariffs, looming GM layoffs and questions about the pact's prospects in Congress clouded the celebratory moment.

Though trade deals are usually subject to an up-or-down vote with no amendments, Congress still would have to pass legislation to implement the agreement.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers short remarks during the Women's Economic Empowerment Conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018.

HORSLEY: It was sort of interesting to see the subtly different ways the three leaders talked about this agreement as they signed it.

The signing came at the front end of two days of tough diplomacy for Trump.

It replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.

Legislative approval is the next step in the process, but could prove to be a hard task in the United States, especially now that Democrats - instead of Trump's Republicans - will control the House of Representatives come January. Democrats and their allies in the labour movement are already demanding changes.

He said he did not foresee a problem in getting congressional approval.

Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi - who is seeking to become House speaker in the new year - quipped, "The trade agreement formerly known as Prince - no, I mean, formerly known as NAFTA, is a work in progress".

The agreement also offers a measure of vindication for Trump's uncompromising "America First" stance at a gathering associated with the elite globalism that he denigrates.

"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". During the negotiations, Trump repeatedly threatened to pull out, a move that would have disrupted businesses that have built complicated supply chains that straddle the borders of the three countries.

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"As good as all this news is, farmers and ranchers still face retaliatory tariffs over steel and aluminum disputes with our North American neighbors and other trading partners". It updates the trade pact to reflect the rise of the digital economy since the original NAFTA took effect almost a quarter century ago.

Although the USA dairy industry had sought deeper market expansion and stronger disciplines from Canada on dairy, NMPF and USDEC praised US negotiators for their ardent efforts to address Canada's pervasive trade-distorting practices.

The biggest changes target the auto industry.

The deal - 32 chapters, 11 annexes and 12 side letters - sets new rules for the auto sector, including a higher threshold for North American content and rules requiring that 40 per cent of vehicle parts be made by workers paid at least $16 an hour.

Trump enraged Canada and other USA allies by declaring imported steel and aluminum a threat to America's national security and therefore a legitimate target for US tariffs. To Enrique Pena Nieto, the Mexican president, it was sort of a modest updating of NAFTA to take into account digital commerce and things that weren't contemplated a quarter-century ago when NAFTA was negotiated.

Trump gathered with the leaders for a traditional group photo, but did not appear to acknowledge Putin or the crown prince as he walked by.

Macri visited the White House soon after Trump took office in 2017.

Mexico's ambassador to the United States, Gerónimo Gutiérrez, told reporters earlier this month that his government expected that there would be "either a solution or a very clear track to a solution" by the time the deal was signed. "We might, but we had none".

Trump barreled into the two-day meeting by announcing via Twitter that he was canceling on Putin over Russia's seizure of Ukrainian vessels.

President Donald Trump is blasting the investigation in which his former lawyer pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about a Moscow real estate deal he pursued for Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov called the cancellation a missed opportunity, saying in remarks from Buenos Aires that were carried by Russian state television that he doubted "this move would help settling a number of important global problems". Posing for photos in the gilded Salón Blanco, Trump spoke about their longtime personal relationship and said they would discuss trade, military purchases and other issues. "The United States, Mexico and Canada worked so well together in crafting this great document".