Trump leaves Canada out in new bilateral trade deal with Mexico

Ali Dashti/The Santiago Times Staff

WASHINGTON –  United States President Donald Trump has announced that his country has reached a preliminary bilateral trade deal with Mexico to replace the existing trilateral North American Free Trade Agreement that included Canada.

Trump announced the agreement as a “a big day for trade” and for the U.S. in a press conference in the Oval Office.

“Many people didn’t think that we will reach this moment because we negotiated hard as did Mexico. This is what we had to do,” the U.S. leader told reporters in his office.

He also urged that the deal not be named NAFTA because “it has a bad connotation because the U.S. was hurt for a long time by that deal”. Trump then called the agreement as “the commerce agreement between the U.S. and Mexico”.

The U.S. president also congratulated the outgoing Mexican president, Enrique Peña Nieto, for reaching the deal in a phone conversation in front of the press in his office at the White House.

The government of the elected Mexican president Andres Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has also welcomed what it’s called the “understanding” falling short of labeling it as a deal. Marcelo Ebrard, the AMLO’S proposed foreign minister has called the “understanding” with the U.S. a “positive step” in a statement.

The preliminary deal leaves Canada out following a year of tough talks between the three north American countries.

Although Trump has not revealed the details of the new deal, some journalists are reporting that the U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has told them about the its terms. “The deal will last for 16 years and and will be reviews every 6 months”, writes Eamon Javers, the CNBC White House correspondent, on Twitter mentioning Lighthizer’s comments.

This new two-way deal could ratchet up the pressure on Canada to return to the negotiating table as Trump has threatened to raise tariffs on cars if Ottawa didn’t agree to negotiate fairly, according to the Politico.

The Trump administration needs to get the Congress approval before it put the new deal into effect. The process can take up to 180 days or six months, according to the U.S. media. However, the outgoing Mexican government has 98 days left at the office which could potentially complicate its path to replace the 24-year NAFTA deal.

Ali Dashti
About Ali Dashti 10 Articles
Ali Dashti is an Iranian journalist. Having a Master's degree in Edition, Production and New Journalist Technologies from Spain's El Mundo newspaper in collaboration with CEU-San Pablo University, he speaks 4 languages: Persian (Farsi), English, Spanish and Russian.