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Trump, Trudeau hail NAFTA revamp

President Donald Trump has hailed his revamped North American trade agreement with Canada and Mexico as a breakthrough for US workers, vowing to sign it by late November.

However, the agreement still faces a lengthy path to congressional approval after serving for two decades as a political football for American manufacturing woes.

Embracing the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which the Canadians joined just before a Sunday midnight deadline, Trump branded it the "USMCA," a moniker he said would replace the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. With a satisfied smile, the president said the new name had a "good ring to it," repeating U-S-M-C-A several times.

But he noted that the agreement would need to be ratified by Congress, a step that could be affected by the outcome of the fall elections as Democrats seek to regain majorities in the House and Senate. When a reporter suggested he seemed confident of approval after his announcement, he said he was "not at all confident" - but not because of the deal's merits or defects.

"Anything you submit to Congress is trouble, no matter what," Trump said, predicting that Democrats would say, "Trump likes it so we're not going to approve it."

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country was in a more stable place now that it had completed the negotiations. He said the deal needed to be fair since one trading partner was 10 times larger. He said Canada did not simply accept "any deal."

"We got the right deal. We got a win-win-win for all three countries," Trudeau said.

Likewise, outgoing Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said via Twitter that the deal negotiated over the past 13 months "achieves what we proposed at the beginning: a win-win-win agreement."

Despite Trump's jibe at the Democrats, their comments on the agreement were largely muted, though many lawmakers said the way the provisions of the deal are enforced would be critical.

"As someone who voted against NAFTA and opposed it for many years, I knew it needed fixing. The president deserves praise for taking large steps to improve it," said Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York. He said any final agreement "must be judged on how it benefits and protects middle class families and the working people in our country."

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent who sought the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, said that while the plan included "some improvements that could be good for US workers, it lacks enforcement mechanisms that are necessary for these policies to succeed."

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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