President Donald Trump announced a new trade agreement between Mexico and the United States as “one of the biggest” trade deals to be made.
Trump said that the new deal would be referenced to as the United States – Mexico Trade Agreement because NAFTA “has a really bad connotation because the United States was hurt very badly by NAFTA.”
Indeed, NAFTA has contributed to the United States’ ballooning annual goods trade deficit, which grew from $115 billion in 1993, the year before NAFTA’s implementation, to nearly $800 billion in 2017. The U.S. went from a $1.6 billion goods trade surplus with Mexico to a $70 billion goods trade deficit during that same time period.
During the presser, President Trump spoke with President Nieto of Mexico on his desk phone thru a translator during which Nieto said that the agreement was good for both the United States and Mexico.
In a separate press event Monday, Trump administration officials involved in the negotiations talked about the process and the outcome.
The trade agreement didn’t’ come easy. United States Trade Representative Ambassador Robert Lighthizer told reporters that the agreement came after seven rounds of intense negotiations, over the course of a year, involving as many as 1,000 people in some iterations because of the complexity of the NAFTA agreement and the U.S. – Mexico relationship. He also heralded it as the biggest agreement of its kind.
“I think we had an enormous amount of hurdles to overcome to renegotiate an agreement that had about $1.1 [trillion] or $1.2 trillion worth of total trade, by far the biggest agreement of its kind in the world,” Lighthizer said.
Jared Kushner said that the agreement is good for both the U.S. and Mexico.
“So we came in with a joint objective,” Kushner said. “The same objective we both had was for us to make America better off and to make Mexico better off. And I think what we were able to accomplish with this deal is really to create a win-win transaction.”
The deal turns the all-encompassing NAFTA into two bi-lateral trade agreements allowing negotiators to focus on the nuanced relationships between the U.S. and each of her two neighboring trading partners separately.