President signs new North America trade agreement


US President Donald Trump signs the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement, known as USMCA, during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, January 29, 2020. – The USMCA, the fruit of years of negotiation between the three key trading partners, is billed as an update to the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, which Trump had long lambasted as a job killer and threatened to scrap outright. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump signed a bill implementing the new North America trade agreement, a major rewrite of trade rules with Canada and Mexico on Wednesday.

Hailing the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement as “a colossal victory for our farmers, ranchers, energy workers, factory workers and American workers in all 50 states,” President Trump on the White House South Lawn.

“The USMCA is the largest, fairest, most balanced and modern trade agreement ever achieved. There’s never been anything like it,” President Trump said.

But in a sign of festering resentment over the attempt to remove him from office, President Trump only invited Republicans to attend the ceremony, along with farmers and workers the White House says will benefit from the renegotiated pact.

President Trump gave shout outs to a long list of Republican senators — and current jurors in the impeachment trial — in the audience for Wednesday’s signing.

“Maybe I’m just being nice to them because I want their vote. I don’t want to leave anybody out,” Trump said before listing several GOP senators.

It was a day long anticipated by the trade-minded President Trump, who earlier this month signed the first phase of a deal with China that aims to ease global trade tensions.

“This is something we really put our heart into. It’s probably the No. 1 reason that I decided to lead this crazy life that I’m leading right now as opposed to that beautiful, simple life of luxury that I lived before this happened,” Trump said during the ceremony.

As the impeachment saga charges forward, President Trump is hoping to highlight a strong American economy — bolstered, he says, by trade deals that better serve US workers — as a way to rebut accusations he abused his office.

The US-Mexico-Canada agreement replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement, which President Trump railed against during the 2016 campaign. The new deal will undoubtedly feature heavily in his re-election pitch this year.

The plan enshrines new auto manufacturing requirements and tougher labor protections but largely leaves the trillions of dollars in trade flow between the three countries unchanged.

Mexico has ratified the agreement, but Canada must still sign off before it takes full effect.

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