President Trump announced a tentative trade deal Monday with Mexico to replace the three-way North American Free Trade Agreement, which he called a big win for U.S. workers and his get-tough trade agenda. Mr. Trump said the new deal was better for the U.S. and rendered obsolete the 24-year old agreement between the U.S., Mexico and Canada. “It’s a big day for trade. It’s a big day for our country,” said Mr. Trump, speaking in the Oval Office. “A lot of people thought we would never get here because we all negotiate tough. We do. So does Mexico.” He wanted to get rid of the name NAFTA because it had “a bad connotation because the United States was hurt very badly by NAFTA for many years,” he said. The breakthrough increases pressure on Canada, which has been on the sidelines, to rejoin negotiations with the U.S. and Mexico. It also puts other countries on notice that Mr. Trump isn’t backing down from his America-first trade policies and his use of tariffs to force concessions from major trading partners such as China and the European Union. Wall Street celebrated the news, pushing the Dow Jones Industrial Average up more than 250 points to above 26,000. The deal set higher “Made in America” standards for vehicles, boosted wages for Mexican workers, kept agricultural products tariff-free, increased environmental standards in Mexico and overhauled rules to protect copyrights and intellectual property. The agreement would last 16 years, with an opportunity to review it and adjust the terms after six years. Mr. Trump said he wanted to terminate NAFTA and get the new deal signed with Mexico, and maybe Canada too, as soon as possible. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the U.S.-Mexico deal would be submitted to Congress for a required 90-day holdover, setting up a signing ceremony in November. However, scrapping NAFTA and creating a new bilateral deal could run afoul of the negotiating authority that Congress granted the president. If Congress has to ratify a new trade pact, it could turn into an arduous debate. Rep. Kevin Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, commended Mr. Trump on forging a deal for the benefit of American workers, farmers and local businesses. “I look forward to carefully analyzing the details and consulting in the weeks ahead with my colleagues and constituents to determine whether the new proposal meets the trade priorities set out by Congress under Trade Promotion Authority,” said the Texas Republican.
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