President Donald Trump took to Twitter to brag about the so-called USMCA trade deal on Friday morning, calling it one of the best trade deals in world history even though it’s basically a slightly tweaked version of NAFTA.
During his trip to the G-20 in Argentina, Trump signed the deal with Canada and Mexico and acted like it was a historical achievement unlike any ever witnessed.
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Just signed one of the most important, and largest, Trade Deals in U.S. and World History. The United States, Mexico and Canada worked so well together in crafting this great document. The terrible NAFTA will soon be gone. The USMCA will be fantastic for all!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 30, 2018
Except that NAFTA still exists.
Trump had repeatedly promised to “rewrite” or scrap NAFTA entirely, referring to it as one of the “worst” trade deals the United States has ever negotiated.
However, despite all his costly tariffs and frequent threats and demands, all he managed to get is minor modifications and a name change.
According to CNBC:
The sweeping agreement includes hundreds of pages, covering thousands of individual products. While the updated provisions will have an impact on the specific companies or industries covered, the updated agreement is expected to have little overall economic impact.
“My expectation all along was that there would be few major changes and NAFTA would go from being one of the worst deals ever to the one of the best,” said Jim O’Sullivan, an economist at High Frequency Economics.
Indeed, Trump basically tweaked NAFTA in a few minor ways and slapped a new name on it that doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue in order to claim that it’s a brand new trade deal.
And Twitter users called him out on it.
Um. You just slightly tweaked NAFTA, Individual 1.
— Angela “I Voted BLUE” Gyetvan (@notgyet13) November 30, 2018
Is there anyone out there that doesn’t realize this still NAFTA- just slightly modified and renamed – DT is an idiot 🤥🤥🤥
— Jeanne McNeil (@JeanneMcNeil15) November 30, 2018
Just like Melania’s speech was a slightly re-worded version of Michelle Obama’s. And how Trump’s “business model” was to license his name to everything from bottled water to a university. That’s all this family knows how to do: put their name on other people’s work.
— Val4Now (@Vcharger1) November 30, 2018
Idiot makes 3 changes to NAFTA, one of which is the NAME, another will RAISE auto cost for CONSUMERS, leaves 90% completely UNCHANGED & calls it the “most important & largest trade deals in world history” #Boring #ResignAlready #G20Argentina
— Sophie Adler (@poptart9797) November 30, 2018
Fake News, soon to be impeached Fake president!
This is NAFTA, with a few tweaks that could have been made without you if Congressional Republicans had the slightest interest in bipartisan negotiations, instead of covering up tRUmp’s crimes & destroying President Obama’s legacy.
— Martin Neiman (@Tackspayer) November 30, 2018
Translation: I changed the name of NAFTAhttps://t.co/WOlRX1YPg2
— Ryan Hill (@RyanHillMI) November 30, 2018
Independent analysts say it amounts to minor tweaks to NAFTA, and reporting shows that your biggest demand was getting rid of the name NAFTA so you could take credit. Great negotiating skills, bro!
— David Marshall (@FunmanDave) November 30, 2018
Even Forbes international trade writer John Brinkley ripped the deal.
[N]o one was surprised when [Trump] said he had turned NAFTA from “the worst trade deal maybe ever signed anywhere” into “a wonderful new trade deal” and “a historic transaction” and “the most important trade deal we’ve ever made, by far.”
That is a more than a little over the top. U.S., Mexican and Canadian negotiators made some significant changes, but the finished product is not a “new trade deal.” It’s an updated NAFTA.
Brinkley went on to point out that new aspects of the deal could cause the price of cars to rise in the United States and Trump’s trade war has already resulted in losses to American dairy farmers that won’t be offset by the new deal.
“In summary, USMCA can be seen, on balance, as an improvement over NAFTA, but not much of one,” he concluded.
It will have no measurable effect on economic growth, job growth or wage growth in the United States. It will have no appreciable effect on the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico. Most important, Trump’s threats against Canada and Mexico and his malign comments about their heads of state during the negotiations pretty well wrecked the United States’ relationship with two of its most important allies.
Basically, Trump got minor modifications and rebranded the deal so he could take credit for it. That’s all.
Plus, the deal still has to be approved by the legislatures of all three nations, and Democrats will control the House when the deal is considered in 2019. And no matter if it passes or not, NAFTA will still exist and Trump will still be a loser who takes credit for things he didn’t have hardly anything to do with.
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