US, Canada and Mexico sign USMCA with Section 232 tariffs still in place

Friday, 30 November 2018 02:17:19 (GMT+3)   |   San Diego

The leaders of the US, Canada and Mexico signed the updated NAFTA deal, called the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) during the G20 summit in Buenos Aires on Friday, although each country’s legislature must approve the deal before it goes into effect.

One of the major complications expected is the ongoing inclusion of Canada and Mexico in the US’ Section 232 tariffs. Trade representatives from the two countries have expressed in recent news reports a desire for complete exclusion, without the caveat of quotas. Many associations, unions, and other organizations have released statements encouraging further tweaks to the deal before it goes into effect.

The Coalition of American Metal Manufacturers: “A golden opportunity was missed today to improve upon the Trump administration’s self-destructive 232 tariff scheme. Thousands of manufacturing companies around the country must today cope with price hikes, delivery delays and the outright unavailability of the steel and aluminum they count on to make their businesses operate. By cutting itself off from the global steel market, the US has become an island of high steel prices. The result of this policy is simple: American steel-using manufacturers cannot successfully compete against foreign competitors able to purchase steel at world market prices outside this country. President Trump must lift the tariffs on steel and aluminum or risk undermining the broader US economy.”

Canadian American Business Council: “We reiterate our call for the US to immediately eliminate the steel and aluminum tariffs targeted at Canada and Mexico for the sake of North American economy, families and businesses.”

Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association: “The CVMA congratulates the Government of Canada on the occasion of the signing of the new free trade agreement between Canada, the United States and Mexico.  This tri-lateral agreement provides a workable framework to support the highly integrated North American automotive industry.  However, we urge the government to continue its efforts to remove the steel and aluminum tariffs as quickly as possible, which are undermining the spirit of the agreement, in order to achieve the full potential of this modern new agreement.”

Teamsters: “Today’s signing of the new NAFTA offers Teamsters little reason to celebrate. American tariffs on steel and aluminum continue to actively harm hundreds of the union's members. Canada made big concessions to secure access to the US market without solving the issue of steel and aluminum tariffs. That implicitly leaves the door open to President Trump to impose national security tariffs on whatever he wants. So at the end of the day, I'm not sure we secured as much access to the US market as we think we did.”

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