August 27, 2018 11:29 am
Updated: August 27, 2018 3:50 pm

Trump announces new U.S.-Mexico trade deal, wants to eliminate NAFTA

WATCH ABOVE: Trump announces United States-Mexico trade agreement, says NAFTA is over


The United States and Mexico reached a deal on Monday to change the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and talks with Canada were expected to begin immediately, U.S. President Donald Trump said.

READ MORE: Freeland heading to Washington after Trump announces plans to scrap NAFTA

“They used to call it NAFTA. We’re going to call it the United States-Mexico trade agreement. We’ll get rid of the name NAFTA,” Trump told reporters. The name had a “bad connotation,” Trump said.

The agreement lifted financial markets and opens the door for Canada to return to the negotiations to rework the 1994 U.S.-Canada-Mexico trade deal. A senior U.S. trade official said there are hopes that a final agreement can be reached by Friday.

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Negotiations between the three trade partners have dragged on for more than a year, and repeated threats by Trump that he would ditch the accord have roiled financial markets, putting pressure on the Mexican peso and the Canadian dollar.

WATCH: What is a trade war

Trump said he would talk to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau soon – though he threatened that it would be easier to put tariffs on Canadian cars instead of including Canada in the agreement with Mexico.

READ MORE: Donald Trump suggests U.S. deliberately freezing out Canada in NAFTA talks

The Mexico-U.S. discussions focused on crafting new rules for the automotive industry, which Trump has put at the heart of his drive to rework the pact he has repeatedly described as a “disaster” for American workers.

The U.S.-Mexico deal would require 75 per cent of auto content to be made in the NAFTA region, up from the current level of 62.5 per cent, a second U.S. official said. A draft fact sheet specified the content would be made in the United States and Mexico.

The deal also would require 40 pe rcent to 45 per cent of auto content to be made by workers earning at least $16 per hour, the second official said.

WATCH: Trump calls NAFTA ‘the worst trade deal maybe ever signed, anywhere’ (Sept. 2016)

“We are now inviting the Canadians in as well and hope that we can reach a fair and successful conclusion with them as well,” a senior U.S. trade official told Reuters in an interview.

“There are still issues with Canada but I think they could be resolved very quickly,” the official said.

LISTEN: Trade law expert and academic Simon Lester discusses the possible changes to NAFTA and the complications involved with scrapping the decades-old document

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Trump is expected to send formal notice to the U.S. Congress by the end of the week about his intentions to sign a new trade agreement within 90 days, which would give Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto time to sign the deal before he leaves office, the senior U.S. trade official said.

READ MORE: Canada not being shut out of NAFTA talks by U.S., Mexico: Freeland

Pena Nieto said on Twitter he had spoken to Trudeau late on Sunday and urged Canada to return to the talks with the aim of concluding a three-nation accord “this week.”

U.S., Mexican and Canadian stocks opened higher on Monday on optimism about a trade deal.

WATCH: Freeland says it’s ‘absolutely clear’ all 3 countries committed to NAFTA (Aug. 24)

Mexican stocks jumped 1.4 per cent to a seven-month high, while the peso firmed about 1.3 per cent against the dollar, heading for its best one-day gain in more than a month.

The United States, Mexico and Canada do more than 1 trillion dollars in trade between them every year.

— Reporting by Roberta Rampton and Jeff Mason; Additional reporting by Sharay Angulo, David Lawder and Dave Graham; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Paul Simao, Grant McCool

© 2018 Thomson Reuters

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