WASHINGTON – Still facing a divisive impeachment trial in the Senate, President Donald Trump celebrated a rare bipartisan achievement Wednesday when he signed into law a revamped trade deal with Mexico and Canada.
Surrounded by business leaders wearing hard hats, Trump portrayed the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, as "a colossal victory" for American farmers, manufacturers and other workers.
"For the first time in American history, we have replaced a disastrous trade deal that rewarded outsourcing with a truly fair and reciprocal trade deal that will keep jobs, wealth and growth right here in America," Trump said during a signing ceremony on the White House South Lawn.
Trump gave a shout-out to more than two dozen Republican lawmakers whom he credited with helping push the deal through Congress.
Left off of his list of plaudits and missing from the celebration: Congressional Democrats, who put their own stamp on the agreement and whose support was pivotal to helping it secure congressional approval. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office said no Democrats were invited to the ceremony.
The revised trade deal, one of Trump's top legislative priorities, is the product of months of negotiations and replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, which essentially eliminated tariffs on most goods traded among the three countries.
The agreement guarantees U.S. farmers greater access to Canada's agriculture market and puts new e-commerce rules in place. It also dictates that a higher percentage of autos be made from parts manufactured in North America and requires that at least 40% of vehicle production be done by workers earning at least $16 per hour.
In addition, the pact, which is supported by labor unions and business groups, includes stronger provisions on labor, enforcement and pharmaceuticals that Democrats had sought as a condition for their approval of the agreement.
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