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Trump hails new trade deal and his own negotiating tactics

President Donald Trump on Monday celebrated ...

Posted: Oct 2, 2018 11:39 AM
Updated: Oct 2, 2018 11:39 AM

President Donald Trump on Monday celebrated his administration's renegotiation of NAFTA, calling the new deal with Canada and Mexico "historic news" that will be a boon for the US economy.

The President attributed the successful renegotiation, which marked the fulfillment of a key campaign promise, to his hard-nosed negotiating tactics and his willingness to impose new tariffs. Reveling in his victory, Trump made clear he will continue to draw from the same playbook -- one that has made Wall Street and top Republicans in Congress queasy -- as he looks to renegotiate trade deals with other countries.

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Robert Lighthizer

"Without tariffs, we wouldn't be talking about a deal," Trump said. "Just for those babies out there that talk about tariffs -- that includes Congress, 'Please don't charge tariffs' -- without tariffs, we wouldn't be standing here."

US and Canadian officials reached a deal late Sunday night, a month after the US brokered an agreement with Mexico and Trump threatened to exclude Canada from the three-party framework.

"To me the fact that we got a good agreement is all the evidence you need that the President's approach is the good approach, is the right approach. If you're not willing to walk away from an agreement, you're not gonna get one, right?" Lighthizer told reporters after Trump's Rose Garden news conference.

Trump, who has long railed against NAFTA, once again called the original agreement "the worst trade deal perhaps ever made" and described the new US-Mexico-Canada Agreement -- dubbed the USMCA -- as a boon for American farmers, US manufacturing and improve labor standards.

"The factories were leaving, the jobs were leaving, people were being fired," Trump said, describing the old agreement. "We have negotiated this new agreement based on the principle of fairness and reciprocity. To me, it's the most important word in trade."

"This new deal will be the most modern, up-to-date and most balanced trade agreement in the history of our country with the most advanced protections for workers," Trump said during a Rose Garden speech.

Always mindful of the branding, Trump touted the new "USMCA" name.

"It's got a good ring to it," Trump said.

Will Congress approve?

The agreement represents the fulfillment of a signature campaign promise and the brokering of an agreement that just days ago seemed likely to unravel, threatening the decades-old North American free trade framework.

But Trump already appears concerned about the fate of his new trade agreement, wavering between saying he believes the trade agreement will "pass easily" and saying he worries politics will get in the way.

"I plan to sign the agreement by the end of November. I then will submit it for approval to Congress where, in theory, there should be no trouble -- but anything you submit to Congress is trouble, no matter what," Trump said. "It's the single greatest agreement ever signed but they'll say, 'Well, Trump likes it, therefore we're not going to approve it because that'll be good for the Republicans, so therefore we can't approve it.' "

He later added he is "not at all confident," saying Democrats "might be willing to throw one of the great deals for the people and the workers -- they may be willing to do that for political purposes."

Trump's US trade representative, though, said he believes the agreement will pass the up-or-down vote in Congress "with a substantial majority."

"I think it's going to pass. And I think it's going to pass with a substantial majority," Lighthizer said, pointing to improved labor standards and environmental protections that Democrats will like.

How it came together

The negotiations between the US and Canada appeared to be going nowhere fast when Trump warned once again last week that he was prepared to exclude Canada from a renegotiated NAFTA agreement.

"It'll probably or possibly be just USM. It'll be United States and Mexico," Trump said at a news conference on Wednesday, days before the Sunday deadline.

But on Friday morning, Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner got a call from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's chief of staff Katie Telford and senior adviser Gerald Butts who wanted to make a final push to reach a deal, two sources familiar close to the negotiations said.

The phone call set into motion a series of phone negotiations over the weekend involving Kushner and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on the US side and the direct involvement of Trudeau's most trusted advisers, leading to an 11th-hour deal late on Sunday night.

US, Canadian and Mexican officials have been working to renegotiate NAFTA for much of Trump's presidency, but the US began negotiating separately with Mexican and Canadian officials in recent months to get past sticking points involving those bilateral trading relationships.

Late last month, the US reached an agreement with Mexico and turned to bringing Canada into the fold, all with Trump threatening to exclude Canada and move forward on a bilateral deal between the US and Mexico.

The two sides struggled to get past key sticking points for weeks after that, but sources credited the phone call from Trudeau's advisers to Kushner with setting in motion a good faith, in the weeds negotiations to resolve the final hurdles, reinvigorating Lighthizer's negotiations with Foreign Secretary Chrystia Freeland.

Trump was updated on the discussions and giving his feedback through the weekend negotiations, from Friday to Sunday.

But it was Kushner's close relationship with Telford that sources are crediting with getting the US and Canada to this breakthrough.

It's not the first time Kushner's involvement has pushed negotiations past their toughest points. Kushner played a similar role with Mexico -- in that case, his close relationship was with Luis Videgeray, the Mexican foreign secretary, helped propel those talks to fruition.

Kushner and Lighthizer said later on Monday that Trump was deeply involved throughout the process of negotiating with Canada and Mexico.

Lighthizer recounted Trump calling him frequently to ask him about detailed provisions in the agreement throughout the negotiations.

"There's no president I believe that ever knew the details of an agreement like this President," Lighthizer said. "I mean I'd get calls about things ... He was completely engaged, he knew the stuff."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 256827

Reported Deaths: 5638
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17257180
Hinds16331322
Harrison13567194
Rankin10804212
Jackson10453184
Lee8864141
Madison8314164
Jones6434112
Forrest6009120
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Lamar488565
Washington4803124
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Tate273162
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Pike263778
Scott248046
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Prentiss246552
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Simpson236467
Leake231765
Grenada219471
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Wayne202932
Winston201666
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Tishomingo189361
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Jasper172736
Holmes168767
Clay159833
Stone144721
Tallahatchie141934
Clarke139862
Calhoun136521
Smith121424
Yalobusha117834
Walthall112336
Noxubee110822
Greene110429
Montgomery109834
Carroll104821
Lawrence102917
Perry102631
Amite98426
Webster92824
Tunica87321
Claiborne86625
Jefferson Davis85326
Humphreys83124
Benton82023
Kemper77620
Quitman6968
Franklin66715
Choctaw60913
Wilkinson58725
Jefferson54919
Sharkey43117
Issaquena1596
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 426543

Reported Deaths: 6126
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson62752920
Mobile30551554
Madison27303186
Tuscaloosa20835267
Montgomery19192305
Shelby18693114
Baldwin16513183
Lee12603101
Morgan12321113
Etowah11805168
Calhoun11206200
Marshall10236107
Houston8681148
Cullman8094105
Limestone807474
Elmore7923101
DeKalb771597
Lauderdale763183
St. Clair7599120
Talladega6224108
Walker5930174
Jackson583741
Colbert535473
Blount532083
Autauga522755
Coffee446256
Dale399781
Franklin368148
Chilton337865
Russell335910
Covington330168
Escambia321342
Dallas305196
Chambers288669
Clarke283133
Tallapoosa2630107
Pike251329
Marion247350
Lawrence245247
Winston229035
Bibb217047
Geneva203335
Marengo200829
Pickens196931
Hale177442
Barbour173836
Fayette171226
Butler170758
Cherokee160930
Henry155021
Monroe147317
Randolph141535
Washington138326
Clay127045
Crenshaw120244
Cleburne118423
Lamar118419
Macon116835
Lowndes111535
Wilcox103621
Bullock99728
Perry98219
Conecuh95120
Sumter89526
Greene76223
Coosa60515
Choctaw51524
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