With new NAFTA train pulling out, Canada's Justin Trudeau finally decided to jump on
Without a minute to spare, Canada's prime minister, Justin Trudeau, jumped on the new NAFTA or U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement to ensure that Canada is not left at the station.
According to Politico:
The new pact, which is being called the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, is a major step toward completing one of Trump's signature campaign promises and gives the president a concrete policy win to tout on the campaign trail this fall. It also sets the stage for what is sure to be a high-stakes fight to get the agreement passed by Congress before it can become law.
It was another triumph for President Trump, who sought to revamp the 1994 trade agreement in the name of making it "fairer" for the U.S.
This, for Justin Trudeau, has got to sting, given his animosity with the U.S. president. The shout-fest back in June at the G-7 summit in Quebec pretty well set the tone, and most recently, there was an argument about whether President Trump had refused to meet with the Canadian prime minister or asked for the meeting in the first place. The two don't get along.
But the problems went well beyond that. Canada had a lot of tariffs still within the NAFTA treaty that didn't sit well with the U.S., such as its tariffs on milk products, which constrained U.S. farmers and shut them out of any benefit from the trade pact.
Canada, which has a European-style system and sensibility, tended to be recalcitrant about changing anything, protecting as it could its cottage industries. Trade negotiators have always told me it's the developed countries that have the toughest time changing.
Meanwhile, the U.S. forged ahead with a new pact with Mexico, believed to be more favorable to U.S. manufacturing interests. With Mexico's presidency set to go to a leftist, the deadline was Sept. 30, so President Enrique Peña-Nieto could sign off before his successor could take over.
Mexico was all raring to go, and so should have been Canada.
But Canada didn't quite take the Trump desire to alter the pact as seriously as Mexico did. Mexico knows that its economy is within a hair's breadth of going south. Canada, not so much – well, until the shadow of the Trump train dawned on the Canadians and started to pull out.
Now Trudeau has jumped onboard despite everything, recognizing just how important U.S. trade without tariffs is to his country's ultra-integrated economy. Canada would have otherwise been left in the dust.
Of course, he's calling it a victory, but we all know what happened.
Score another one for the Trump train. This one's another victory for the U.S.