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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

US Mexico agree, US Canada, not so much


A week ago, the U.S. and Mexico reached an agreement on revisions to the current North American Free Trade Agreement. Trump then said Canada had until Friday to climb on board—a significant date because Congress needs 90 days’ notification to approve a new NAFTA, and Mexico gets a new president at the start of December. However, Canada and the U.S. did not meet the negotiating deadline, and talks are to continue this week.

American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear stated, “We commend President Trump and his team of negotiators on reaching a tentative agreement with Mexico to modernize NAFTA. America relies on trucks to carry the bulk of goods that move across our borders, and so our industry knows full well the value and importance of free and fair trade. We look forward to productive work with our partners in Canada and examining this new agreement in detail to assess how it will affect motor carriers and the flow of commerce between our North American partners.”

President Donald Trump has made statements claiming that the U.S. will be “better off” without a North American free trade deal that includes Canada, but Richard Trumka, the president of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) disagrees, saying Canada needs to be on board due to existing economic integration across the continent.

“The three countries in North America, the economy is pretty integrated,” Trumka said in a Fox interview. “And it’s pretty hard to see how that would work without having Canada in the deal.”

Nonetheless, President Trump took to Twitter to claim there was “no political necessity to keep Canada in the new NAFTA deal,” while Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland took a somewhat more upbeat tack.

The current failure to finalize Canadian negotiations isn’t the only issue for the unions—Trumka also pointed out that the Mexican agreement remains vague for now. “The language isn’t drafted. We haven’t seen whole chapters of the thing. We’re anxious to move forward with it and anxious to have all three countries involved,” he said in the Fox interview.

The Mexican deal guarantees workers the right to union representation, and insists that 40-45% of cars are made by workers who are being paid at least $16 per hour.