President Donald Trump signed a historic new trade deal with the leaders of Mexico and Canada on Friday, Nov. 30, 2018, that will replace the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. Nervous school bus manufacturers have been especially concerned about what will happen with possible tariffs on imported steel from Canada.
The new United States—Mexico—Canada Agreement (USMCA), was finalized on Friday and is headed to the congress of each country for ratification. “The USMCA is the largest, most significant, modern, and balanced trade agreement in history,” President Trump summarized. The action fulfills a major campaign promise for the President, to replace what he called, the “failed NAFTA.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, however, referred to the agreement as the “new NAFTA.”
Whatever it is called, Trump said he expects the deal to soon be ratified.
“I look forward to working with members of Congress and the USMCA partners—and I have to say, it’s been so well-reviewed, I don’t expect to have very much of a problem—to ensure the complete implementation of our agreement,” he commented at the signing ceremony in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Although U.S. school bus manufacturing was not specifically mentioned in comments today, President Trump’s statements regarding the automobile manufacturing industry provided some hints on what may apply to the school bus industry.
“At least 75 percent of our automobiles’ content must be manufactured in North America, and 40 to 45 percent of automobile content must be manufactured by North American high-wage labor in order to gain preferential access to our markets,” said President Trump in explaining the provisions of USMCA.
He added, “This will help stop auto jobs from going overseas and it will bring back auto jobs that have already left. Many, many jobs are already planning to come back. Many companies are coming back, and we’re very excited about that.”
The USMCA is also expected to “cut red tape at the border, streamline trade, and reduce regulatory uncertainty,” he added.