At the G20 summit, USMCA gets signed without lifting of steel and aluminum tariffs

The leaders of the G20 countries are in Argentina this weekend to discuss the world’s current pressing issues. While U.S. President Trump’s supper with China’s President Xi on Saturday night is the main event that the world is watching, another economic pact crawled closer to reality as Canada, Mexico, and the United States signed the CUSMA (NAFTA 2.0) at the G20 on Friday morning.

There are still challenges ahead if the North American trade deal is to be ratified — most of which concern the United States’ congress in 2019.  This week at the Grow Canada conference at Ottawa, Ont., the former leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Rona Ambrose stated during her keynote that the chance of a ratified deal could be below 50%.

The section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs are still hanging over the very subdued signing. “For three countries that were signing a very critical economic pact for North America, it did not seem like anyone wanted to be there based on the late confirmation and the tempo of the speeches. I think everyone recognizes there is much work yet to be done in Washington, D.C., to complete the process,” says Shaun Haney, founder of RealAgriculture.

Both Mexico and Canada requested that the steel and aluminium tariffs be lifted prior to signing, but President Trump has not obliged, despite support from major American farm groups. Elimination of these tariffs would minimize steel cost increases and enable lifting of the retaliatory tariffs placed on the U.S. by Canada and Mexico.

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