It’s been more than a year in the making, but the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) was finally signed Friday in Buenos Aires, on the sidelines of the high-profile G20 summit.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, U.S. President Donald Trump and outgoing Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto formally signed the trade agreement.
Pena Nieto and Trump proudly held up the agreement after it was signed, but Trudeau didn’t.
“The new North American Free Trade Agreement maintains stability for Canada’s entire economy – stability that’s essential for the millions of jobs and middle-class families across the country that rely on strong, reliable trading relationships with our closest neighbours. That’s why I’m here today,” Trudeau said.
The prime minister added that there is, “much more work to do, in lowering trade barriers and in fostering growth that benefits everyone.”
U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminium remain in place, but a Canadian official says 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.
A new Mexican president takes over on 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.