04:18 GMT +314 November 2019
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    United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer

    US Trade Envoy: Mexico's Ratification of USMCA a 'Crucial Step Forward'

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Mexico's ratification of the US-Mexico-Canada-Agreement (USMCA) is a crucial step toward replacing the current North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a news release.

    "The USMCA’s ratification by Mexico is a crucial step forward, and I congratulate President [Andres] Lopez Obrador and the Mexican Senate on this historic achievement", Lighthizer said Wednesday.

    Lighthizer asserted that the new trade deal will benefit workers, farmers and businesses from each nation.

    The deal was ratified in the Mexican Senate by 114 votes in favor, with four against and three abstentions.

    US President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will discuss the USMCA during a Thursday meeting in Washington.

    The USMCA, which will replace the 1994 NAFTA trade deal, covers auto and agricultural tariffs, intellectual property rights, labor standards, and environmental protections, among other issues. The agreement must be ratified by the legislatures of each of the countries in order to take effect.

    In March 2018, Trump introduced 25 percent tariffs on steel imports and 10 percent tariffs on aluminum imports by invoking Section 232 of US trade law, citing alleged national security concerns. Canada and Mexico in 2018 fell under the new duties and subsequently retaliated against the US by introducing their own tariffs on US goods.

    Trudeau said that the US tariffs have been the biggest obstacle to the full passage of the USMCA, adding that the decision to reverse the tariffs would allow the United States and Canada to work together on the ratification process.

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