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Trump wants USMCA, NAFTA deal ceremony. Canada, Mexico say no due to tariffs

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Donald Trump Justin Trudeau
President
Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin
Trudeau.

REUTERS/Christinne
Muschi


  • President Donald Trump wants to hold a ceremonial signing for
    the new US-Mexico-Canada trade deal before the midterms to give
    the GOP a political boost.
  • Canada and Mexico are not keen to join since Trump’s steel
    and aluminum tariffs remain in place.
  • The three countries are continuing discussions on a deal to
    remove the tariffs.
  • The US wants the two countries to accept a quota system
    instead.

President Donald Trump’s trade policy is getting in the way of
his desire to hold a ceremony to claim a major trade victory.

According to a
report from Politico
, Trump wants to hold a ceremonial
signing of
the new US-Canada-Mexico trade deal
in a Midwestern city
before the November midterm elections. But Canada and Mexico are
resisting due to Trump’s tariffs on imports of steel and
aluminum.

Despite the new trade agreement, which is an update of the North
American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Trump’s 25% tariff on
imported steel
and 10% tariff on imported aluminum
remain in place
 — as do Canada and Mexico’s retaliatory
trade measures against the US.

Canada’s ambassador to the US, David MacNaughton, told
Politico that as long as those measures are in place the country
will not take part in a signing ceremony.

“There won’t be any of that as long as the tariffs are in
place,” MacNaughton said.

Any signing ceremony prior to the November 6 elections
would only be for political show. Trump’s method for advancing
the new trade deal, known as the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement or
USMCA, through Congress requires a 60-day window from the deal’s
text being submitted to Congress and a signing ceremony.

That means a formal signing by the three member countries’
executives couldn’t occur before November 30. The deal then has
to clear a series of hurdles in each countries’ legislatures
before the USMCA would go into effect.

Discussions about the tariffs are ongoing. As it stands
,the US wants Canada and Mexico to
accept quotas for steel and aluminum
in lieu of tariffs,
similar to agreements with Argentina, Brazil, and South
Korea.

It’s unclear what each countries’ appetite would be for a
quota, which limits the amount of each metal that can be shipped
to the US in a year.

Trump imposed steel and aluminum tariffs in March, aiming
to boost the US metals industries. Originally, key allies
including Mexico and Canada
were exempt from the tariffs
but after failing to reach a
deal, Trump
slapped the import duties
on the countries in June.

The decision
prompted retaliatory tariffs
from Mexico and Canada and
frayed the countries’ relationships.

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