Remarks by President Trump, Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada, and President Peña Nieto of Mexico at Signing Ceremony for the United States—Mexico—Canada Agreement
Palacio Duhau – Park Hyatt Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires, Argentina
9:24 A.M. AST
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. We’re gathered together this afternoon for a very historic occasion: The signing ceremony for a brand new trade deal, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. So important.
I’m honored to be here with President Enrique Peña Nieto — who’s become a great friend — of Mexico, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has also become a great friend, who has — this has been a battle, and battles sometimes make great friendships. So it’s really terrific.
With our signatures today, we will formally declare the intention of our three countries to replace NAFTA with the USMCA a truly groundbreaking achievement. A modern-day agreement.
I want to thank U.S. Trade Representative Bob Lighthizer and his entire team for their tremendous effort and the efforts that they’ve made all throughout the last almost two-year period.
Thank you as well to Jared Kushner, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin, and Director Larry Kudlow for their hard work and untiring devotion throughout the negotiation process. Peter Navarro, thank you so much for the work that you put in. And so many others.
The USMCA is the largest, most significant, modern, and balanced trade agreement in history. All of our countries will benefit greatly. It is probably the largest trade deal ever made, also. In the United States, the new trade pact will support high-paying manufacturing jobs and promote greater access for American exports across the range of sectors, including our farming, manufacturing, and service industries.
As part of our agreement, the United States will be able to lock in our market access to Canada and Mexico, and greatly expand our agricultural exports — something we’ve been wanting to do for many years. This is an amazing deal for our farmers, and also allows them to use cutting-edge biotechnology, and eliminates non-scientific barriers.
Our nations have also agreed to innovate new measures to ensure fair competition and promote high wages, and higher wages, for U.S. and North American autoworkers. The autoworkers are a tremendous beneficiary.
Under the USMCA, at least 75 percent of our automobiles’ content must be manufactured in North America, and 40 to 45 percent of automobile content must be manufactured by North American high-wage labor in order to gain preferential access to our markets. This will help stop auto jobs from going overseas and it will bring back auto jobs that have already left. Many, many jobs are already planning to come back. Many companies are coming back, and we’re very excited about that.
This landmark agreement includes intellectual property protections that will be the envy of nations all around the world. The USMCA also contains robust new provisions on digital trade and financial services, and the most ambitious environmental and labor protections ever placed into a major trade agreement anywhere at any time.
We have dramatically raised standards for combatting unfair trade practices; confronting massive subsidies for state-owned enterprises; and, currently, if you look at it, currency manipulation that hurt workers in all three of our countries. The currency manipulation from some countries is so intense, so bad, and it would hurt Mexico, Canada, and the United States badly. We’ve covered it very well in this agreement.
These new provisions will benefit labor, technology, and development in each of our nations, leading to much greater growth and opportunity throughout our countries and across North America.
In short, this is a model agreement that changes the trade landscape forever. And this is an agreement that, first and foremost, benefits working people — something of great importance to all three of us here today.
President — I must say, Peña Nieto and Prime Minister Trudeau, we’ve worked hard on this agreement. It’s been long and hard. We’ve taken a lot of barbs and a little abuse. And we got there. It’s great for all of our countries.
Thank you for your close partnership throughout this process. This new agreement will ensure a future of prosperity and innovation for Mexico, Canada, and the United States. I look forward to working with members of Congress and the USMCA partners — and I have to say, it’s been so well reviewed, I don’t expect to have very much of a problem — to ensure the complete implementation of our agreement.
Enrique, I want to thank you on a personal note, and I want to wish you the very best. This will be your last day in office, so that’s a very auspicious day when you can sign something so important. But we really do appreciate it. I think I can speak for Justin when I say that. (Applause.) We both — we both agree he’s a special man. And he’s really done a good job, and we appreciate it very much. Thank you.
So I just want to congratulate you on ending your term in office with this incredible milestone. It is really an incredible way to end a presidency. You don’t see that happen very often.
I look forward to working with President-elect López Obrador for many years to come. And our relationship, I know, will be a very good one. We’ve had great conversations and I think we’re going to have a great, great relationship.
And I would now like to invite the President and the Prime Minister to say a few words. And perhaps we can start with Justin. And we appreciate it very much. Thank you. Justin, please. (Applause.)
PRIME MINISTER TRUDEAU: Good morning. Thank you all for being here, and thank you to Presidents Trump and Peña Nieto. Donald, thank you for your words this morning. Thank you for pulling this event together. Enrique, this, as Donald said, on your last day in office, it’s a wonderful pleasure to see you and to be here on this historic moment.
The new North American Free Trade Agreement maintains stability for Canada’s entire economy — stability that’s essential for the millions of jobs and middle-class families across the country that rely on strong, reliable trading relationships with our closest neighbors. That’s why I’m here today.
The new agreement lifts the risk of serious economic uncertainty that lingers throughout a trade renegotiation process. Uncertainty that would have only gotten worse and more damaging had we not reached a new NAFTA.
But when faced with this challenge, Canadians came together and rolled up their sleeves. Canadians from every order of government and walks of life put their country’s interests first and worked hard to achieve a new, modernized agreement that will protect jobs, strengthen the middle class, and create new opportunities for businesses.
There’s much more work to do in lowering trade barriers and in fostering growth that benefits everyone. But reaching a new free trade agreement with the United States and Mexico is a major step for our economy.
Canadians got here because Team Canada was driven by the interests of the middle class. Free and fair trade leads to more and better-paying middle-class jobs for more people. And the benefits of trade must be broadly and fairly shared. That is what modernizing NAFTA achieves, and that is why it was always so important to get this new agreement done right.
As a result, the tariff-free access that NAFTA guaranteed for more than 70 percent of Canada’s total exports is secure. And that’s essential for businesses, families, jobs, entrepreneurs, and hardworking people in every corner of our country.
As I said, the task isn’t done. There is more hard work ahead to build resilient, strong economies that support families everywhere in Canada.
As I discussed with President Trump a few days ago, the recent plant closures by General Motors, which affects thousands of Canadian and American workers and their families, are a heavy blow. Make no mistake: We will stand up for our workers and fight for their families and their communities.
And, Donald, it’s all the more reason why we need to keep working to remove the tariffs on steel and aluminum between our countries.
With hard work, good will, and determination, I’m confident we will get there. Our shared interests, prosperity, and security demand it.
Before wrapping up, I’d like to personally thank our Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, along with U.S. Trade Representative Bob Lighthizer, and Mexican Secretary of the Economy Ildefonso Guajardo for all their hard work and dedication since the very beginning of this process. I’d also like to thank Ambassador David MacNaughton, Chief Negotiator Steve Verheul, and their talented and extremely hardworking staff.
Once again, thank you all for being here today. (Applause.)
PRESIDENT PEÑA NIETO: (As interpreted.) President of the United States, Donald Trump; Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau; distinguished members of the delegations joining us today: To both, I would like to thank you for your generous remarks.
This is precisely the last day of my administration, ladies and gentlemen, members of the media. During the last day of my administration as President, I am honored to be here standing next to the leaders of two countries who are friends and partners in this signing ceremony of the new trade agreement between Mexico, the U.S., and Canada.
The agreement that we will sign today expresses the shared will by our three nations to work together towards the wellbeing and prosperity of each one of our societies. This day is the culmination of a long process based on dialogue and negotiations that allow us to overcome differences and to conciliate our visions. Once signed, the agreement will be sent to our congresses for its ratification. It will be then when this innovative instrument bears fruit by offering a more inclusive, firm, and modern foundation for our future exchanges.
The negotiation of USMCA allowed to reaffirm the importance of economic integration in North America. For more than a quarter of a century ago, our three countries have maintained very tight trade relationships. Such trade has transformed Mexico. Today, our exchanges abroad represent more than 70 percent of our gross domestic product.
And this has contributed to the fact that, today, the benefits of trade with the world are broadly valued by the Mexican society. Revamping the new trade agreement was aimed to preserve the view of an integrated North America, with a firm belief that together we are stronger and more competitive.
In spite of the progress that we’ve seen in our trade relationship in the last two decades, there was still a long road ahead of us to take advantage of each country’s potential. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement gives a renewed face to the process of integration. This process achieved, on the first place, to modernize our trade framework. Trade agreements shall not be static. Agreements need to move along with the economy and should be according to the needs of our society.
The inclusion of new provisions on e-commerce, information technologies, and trade-enabling practices are now part of the agreement. In fact, one third of the agreement includes topics that were not included in the current agreement. The renegotiating process of the agreement allowed our region to move into a more inclusive integration — a type of integration that listens to the demands of our societies.
Twenty-four years ago, NAFTA set a new benchmark for trade agreements back then. Today, USMCA is the first trade agreement that incorporates elements that address the social impact of international trade. It enables the participation of more sectors in the economy, including the participation of SMEs in regional trade. It extends the protection of workers’ rights, strengthens the protection of the environment, and also includes a review clause that would make easier that the agreement is revamped more constantly. And this is a true sign of the will we have put in this agreement — the decision to provide more and better opportunities to our peoples.
I would like to acknowledge the work done by the negotiators from the three countries. Each team advocated for each country’s interests. And by doing this, you reached a very positive result for the sake of all countries.
In the case of Mexico, this work bears testimony of the work of the business community who were present during the process, and specifically the new administration that will take office tomorrow. Your support, and the alignment of visions in the last phase, contributed to the success of this renegotiation process.
I would like to say that I sincerely acknowledge President Trump and Prime Minister Trudeau for their vision and the vision that they have put into the process. Thanks to you, President Trump and Prime Minister Trudeau, the agreement that we have signed today will allow each country to gain individually, but also North America will grow stronger and will grow to be more prosperous.
Ladies and gentlemen, currently in the world, each country’s future is firmly linked to what happens in other countries. In North America, we understand this very clearly. We understand that each society’s prosperity will be greater and will be deeply rooted if it’s based in the prosperity of the region as a whole.
This signing ceremony, it is a sign that Mexico, the United States, and Canada, being close — not only due to our geography but on values and our expectations — we’re ready to begin a new chapter in our shared history. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
(The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement is signed.)
9:43 A.M. AST