The United States, Mexico and Canada signed the trade agreement known as T-MEC in Buenos Aires, which replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and which has yet to be ratified by the Congresses of the three North American countries. enter into force.
The US Foreign Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer; Mexico’s Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo and Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland signed the pact in Buenos Aires, on the sidelines of the summit of G20 leaders.
The signing came after US presidents, Donald Trump, and Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, and the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, gave speeches and signed a symbolic document instructing their ministers to sign the commercial pact.
The act took place in the last day in the power of Peña Nieto, whose successor, the leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador, joined the renegotiation of the pact in its final stretch and supported the resulting trade agreement.
Trump insisted on renegotiating the NAFTA, in effect since 1994 and that includes a trillion dollars annually in exchanges, considering it a “disaster”, and has presented the new pact as a huge triumph of its protectionist position on commercial matters.
Although Mexico and Canada had demanded as a requirement to sign the pact exempting them from tariffs of 25% on steel imports and 10% on aluminum tariffs imposed by the US, they finally pleaded to sign it without having achieved it. .
Jesus Seade, the chief negotiator of López Obrador’s cabinet, told Efe today after signing the pact that he hopes that “this year”, before 2019 begins, an agreement will be reached so that the US lift those tariffs.
Among the most important changes of the T-MEC, known in English as USMCA, is the norm that at least 75% of the parts of automobiles must be manufactured in North America, compared to 62.5 established by NAFTA.
In addition, between 40 and 45% of the vehicle will have to be produced by workers who earn at least $ 16 per hour.
The pact also offers greater access to the Canadian market to American dairy producers, and includes new provisions on digital commerce and intellectual property.
Its ratification in the United States Congress is uncertain, since in all probability it will not be examined in the Capitol until next year, when a new Democratic majority will take the reins of the House of Representatives. (EFEUSA) .-