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Tuesday, March 2, 2021

New NAFTA blues

President Donald

Trump has called the

U.S.-Mexico-Canada

Agreement he

negotiated last year “a

great deal’’ for all three

countries. But the pact

faces serious hurdles getting

ratified by Congress.

The agreement replaces the

North American Free Trade

Agreement. Trump and other

U.S. critics opposed NAFTA

because it encouraged

manufacturers to close U.S.

factories, shift them to low-wage

Mexico and then ship products back to the United

States duty free. Trump’s USMCA includes provisions,

meant to appeal to Democrats and labor unions, that

would coax manufacturing back to America.

But USMCA is getting criticism

from both political parties.

Republicans complain

that Trump is keeping

taxes on imported

Canadian and Mexican steel

and aluminum – which raises

costs for metals-consuming

American companies. They want

the tariffs removed. Democrats

want the deal reworked to do more

to encourage Mexican workers to

form unions and bargain for higher

wages and better working

conditions. They also dislike the way

USMCA protects super-expensive

biologic drugs from copycat competitors

called biosimilars.

The stakes are huge. U.S. trade with Canada and

Mexico totaled nearly $1.4 trillion last year.

Source: U.S. Commerce Department Paul Wiseman; Jenni Sohn • AP

US trade in North America

In billions of dollars

New NAFTA blues

Numbers may not add

up due to rounding

Imports

from

Exports

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