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Trade showdown

VP Pence is off to Canada to push for “new NAFTA” deal

Renata Sago May 29, 2019
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Steel coils lay in a yard at ArcelorMittal Dofasco steel plant on June 4, 2018 in Hamilton, Canada..
Cole Burston/Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence heads to Canada Thursday, as the country’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau begins the process to ratify the trade agreement to replace NAFTA: the USMCA or U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

It will be the first high-level meeting since the two countries reached a deal two weeks ago for the U.S. to lift tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum.

Those tariffs had been a sticking point for the trade deal the two countries negotiated — along with Mexico — to replace NAFTA.

Chad Bown with the Peterson Institute for International Economics said now that the tariffs are out of the way, “Canada would desperately like to have this whole set of negotiations put behind them.”

Bown also added that Trudeau would like to put the deal behind him, too. He’s up for re-election in October and his Liberal Party is behind in the polls.

Canada’s parliament has about three weeks to consider the deal before it begins its three-month summer break. If lawmakers haven’t approved the agreement by then, Inu Manak of the CATO Institute said it won’t come up for a vote until after the Canadian election — and possibly under a new prime minister.

“You’re going to see a lot more pushback and perhaps a reopening of the deal,” she said, “or demand for reopening of the deal by the other parties.”

Manak added that if Canada green-lights the deal, pressure will increase on Democrats in Congress to drop their objections to some of its terms.

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