Trump celebrates official start of USMCA, heralds end of NAFTA

President Donald Trump just made good on yet another campaign promise. In a statement Wednesday, the president celebrated the official start of the replacement of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). 

The White House’s formal statement on the matter came on the day that marked the end of NAFTA and the commencement of the USMCA — and the president was clearly happy to have fulfilled another of the pledges he made to American voters back in 2016.

“When I ran for President, I made a solemn promise to the American people that I would end the job-killing failure called the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and replace it with a better deal for our workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses—the men and women of Main Street who built the most prosperous and equitable economy in human history,” his statement reads.

It continues: “Today, with NAFTA ending forever and the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) entering into full force, our grateful Nation pays tribute to America’s workers and celebrates their ability to overcome decades of bad deals and failed policies.”

What’s next?

According to the president, when it comes to trade, America wasn’t getting a fair shake with Mexico and Canada under NAFTA. Accordingly, what the USMCA — which the press release calls “the largest, fairest, and most balanced trade agreement ever negotiated” — seeks to do is to bolster our nation’s economic position in North America.

Wednesday’s press release lists some of the things that we can expect to see as the provisions of the new agreement are implemented.

“It is a tremendous victory for our manufacturers and autoworkers, meaning more cars and trucks will be produced in the United States,” the White House’s statement said.

The USMCA additionally seeks to provide significant support to America’s agricultural industry, with more of our goods — particularly our dairy products — set to reach the Canadian market.

In addition, according to the White House, “the USMCA includes groundbreaking provisions to address digital trade, services, small business, and more, which will protect America’s competitive edge in technology and innovation.”

Will it work?

Not everyone is as convinced that the USMCA will be as successful as advertised.

Politico, for example, suggests that the agreement is “landing amid rising trade tensions with Canada and widespread concern about Mexico’s ability to enforce labor protections,” and warns that “any economic benefits and job gains are years away.”

Maybe, maybe not. But for it to be a success, all it has to be is an improvement over NAFTA — and that seems exceedingly likely.

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