President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed into law a major rewrite of the rules of trade with Canada and Mexico.
Trump says it replaces what he calls the “nightmare” of a Clinton-area agreement that governed trade among the three countries. NAFTA, which took effect in 1994 under President Bill Clinton, tore down trade barriers between the three countries and commerce between them surged. But Trump and other critics said NAFTA encouraged factories to leave the United States and relocate south of the border to take advantage of low-wage Mexican labor.
Trump threatened to leave NAFTA if he couldn’t get a better deal, creating uncertainty over regional trade.
He says the new deal with Canada and Mexico will keep jobs, wealth and growth in America. Expert say the impact will be modest, given that Canada and Mexico already represent the top two export markets for U.S. goods.
“This is a cutting-edge, state-of-the-art agreement that protects, defends, and serves the great people of our country,” Trump said in an outdoor signing ceremony at the White House. “Together we are building a glorious future that is raised, grown, built and made right here in the glorious U.S.A.”
70 Republican members of Congress were invited to the signing ceremony. No Democratic legislators were in attendance.