Ryan says he is pleased NAFTA overhaul maintains Canadian membership

Ryan says he is pleased NAFTA overhaul maintains Canadian membership

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Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Feb 8, 2018, (Photo Doug Christian)
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Feb 8, 2018, (Photo Doug Christian)

WASHINGTON – House Speaker Paul Ryan said Monday that he is pleased the Trump administration was able to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canadian membership intact.

“The United States benefits when all three countries are held to the high standards laid out in Trade Promotion Authority. That’s why I’m pleased that the Trump administration succeeded in bringing Canada into the fold to reach a trilateral agreement,” Ryan (R-Wis.) said in a statement.

He added: “I look forward to reviewing the text of the agreement, particularly the dairy provisions, and engaging with members and stakeholders on the details.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said it is too early to assess the agreement.

“Any trade agreement proposal must be judged by whether it improves the wages, working conditions and well-being of America’s workers and farmers. Fixing NAFTA means increasing the paychecks of American workers, delivering real, enforceable labor standards, ensuring fairness for American agriculture, and recognizing the connection between economic growth and environmental protections,” Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement.

She added: “Democrats will closely scrutinize the text of the Trump Administration’s NAFTA proposal, and look forward to further analyses and conversations with stakeholders.”

NAFTA was brokered by the Clinton administration. It went into effect in January 1994. The U.S., Canada, and Mexico are signatories to the agreement.

NAFTA was designed to eliminate trade barriers between the signatories as well as foster mutual economic growth.

Critics of NAFTA say it harmed America’s manufacturing base by outsourcing manufacturing jobs.

President Donald Trump campaigned on a pledge to either renegotiate or withdraw from the agreement.

In March the administration began an aggressive tariff regime aimed at protecting American exports.

Canada responded with retaliatory tariffs.

The back and forth led to increased tensions between Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Tradeau.

The feud was thought to have negated the prospect of Canada entering into the new agreement, which Trump and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto brokered in August.

Trump formally announced a deal on the United States-Canada-Mexico Agreement (USMCA) at a news conference in the White House Rose Garden on Monday.

Trump said the administration’s tariff regime led to the agreement. He went on to say  those who oppose tariffs are “babies.”

Trump said he expects to sign the agreement in November.

Congress is not expected to consider the agreement until next year.

Under the agreement, the U.S. will increase auto production and a significant portion of American workers will be paid at least $16 per hour.

Stocks rallied following news of the agreement.

As of 1 p.m. EDT Monday the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up nearly 200 points from its opening price. The S&P 500 index is up 0.51 percent.

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