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U.S. and Canada Finalize NAFTA Deal Hours Before Deadline

President Trump welcomes Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau to the White House in 2017. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

U.S. negotiators finalized revisions to the North American Free Trade Agreement with their Canadian counterparts on Sunday night, hours before the midnight deadline, allowing President Trump to sign the revamped deal in mid November.

The revised trade deal, known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, facilitates greater access to the Canadian dairy market for American farmers and establishes more stringent rules of origin for automakers.

“It will strengthen the middle class, and create good, well-paying jobs and new opportunities for the nearly half billion people who call North America home,” said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland in a joint statement.

Trump similarly praised the agreement on Twitter on Monday morning.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has been sharply critical of Trump’s negotiating tactics, called the completion of the deal a “good day for Canada & our closest trading partners.”

Critics of the arrangement have suggested that the months of protracted and often heated negotiations with our closest allies imposed more of a diplomatic cost than was warranted by the revisions made to NAFTA.

“We have really hurt relationships with our major ally . . . for the sake of a few gallons of milk,” Jeffrey Rosensweig, a business professor at Emory University, said on CNN.

While all parties are expected to sign the deal before Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto leaves office on December 1, Congress likely won’t vote to adopt the measure until 2019.

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