(Canadian Press)

Canada signs onto new NAFTA on sidelines of high-stakes G20 summit

The signing of the trade agreement is largely ceremonial, because it will still need to be ratified by all three countries

After much anticipation, Canada signed the revamped NAFTA in Buenos Aires on the sidelines of the high-profile G20 summit Friday.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined U.S. President Donald Trump and outgoing Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto at a hotel to formally sign the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

“The new agreement lifts the risk of serious economic uncertainty that lingers throughout the trade renegotiation process — uncertainty that would have only gotten worse and more damaging had we not reached a new NAFTA,” Trudeau said.

“There is much more work to do in lowering trade barriers and in fostering growth that benefits everyone, but reaching a new free trade agreement with the United States and Mexico is a major step for our economy.”

READ MORE: World eyes trade tension as Trudeau arrives at high-drama G20 summit

Trump, standing in between his Canadian and Mexican counterparts, said the new deal was a model agreement that would stop auto jobs from going overseas, protect intellectual property rights and provide robust protections for digital trade and financial services.

U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum remain in place, but a Canadian official said an advantage to signing onto the agreement now is an auto side letter exempting Canada of potential tariffs on exports of up to 2.6 million vehicles — well above current levels.

Friday marked an important deadline for the trade pact.

A new Mexican president takes over Saturday, who might not honour the tentative deal struck by his predecessor.

The signing of the trade agreement is largely ceremonial, because it will still need to be ratified by all three countries before it can formally take effect.

U.S. lawmakers have already indicated they don’t expect to tackle the USMCA until after the new Congress is sworn in early next year.

The deal — 32 chapters, 11 annexes and 12 side letters — sets new rules for the auto sector, including a higher threshold for North American content and rules requiring 40 per cent of car parts be made by workers paid at least $16 an hour.

It preserves a contentious dispute-resolution system the U.S. dearly wanted gone, extends patent protections for biologic drugs and allows U.S. farmers a 3.6-per-cent share of Canada’s famously guarded market for poultry, eggs and dairy products — a concession that dismayed Canadian dairy producers.

Despite the symbolism of Friday’s signing, Trump has no meetings with Trudeau scheduled while the two are in Argentina.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Sailings filling up on Northern Sea Wolf

There is a strong demand for the service

New ownership group presents Mount Timothy Resort plans

‘More activity and more people on the hill means more fun’

Thunderstorms in forecast for much of Cariboo Chilcotin

Special weather statements, concerns of flash flooding, for southern B.C. regions

Two Nuxalk artists awarded YVR Art Foundation scholarships

Several Nuxalk artists have won the award, some more than once

Convicted animal abuser to return to B.C. court May 21

Catherine Jessica Adams is facing a breach of probation charge

B.C.’s fight to regulate bitumen through pipelines to go to Canada’s top court

BC Appeal Court judges found B.C. cannot restrict bitumen flow along Trans Mountain pipeline

B.C. port workers set to strike on Monday in Vancouver

A strike at two container terminals would affect Canadian trade to Asia

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

B.C. man, 30, arrested for driving his parents’ cars while impaired twice in one day

The Vancouver-area man was arrested after officers caught him driving impaired twice in one day

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

More than half of Canadians support ban on handguns, assault rifles: study

Divide between rural and urban respondents in latest Angus Reid Institute public opinion study

Spring rain needed as B.C. sees one of the lowest snowpack levels in 40 years

Snowpack levels in B.C. recorded on May 15 were similar to those in 2015 and 2016

Theresa May to quit as party leader June 7, sparking race for new PM

The new Conservative leader will become prime minister without the need for a general election

B.C. man who fell off cliff returns there to rescue eagle from vulture attack

Nanaimo’s James Farkas, who broke his hip in a fall, saves eagle on same beach months later

Most Read