President Donald Trump touted the new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada in a White House address Monday, saying it will benefit American workers.
After congratulating his officials, Trump thanked Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador for the former’s work on the agreement and the latter’s support for keeping it in place when he takes office. He also gave his regards to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and said the deal is "a very, very good deal for all three" countries, unlike the current North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
"Once approved by Congress, this new deal will be the most modern, up-to-date, and balanced trade agreement in the history of our country, with the most advanced protections for workers ever developed," he said.
Trump also said Democrats have praised the deal even though Democratic leaders wouldn’t want them to do so.
He said the deal is an example for how to fix unfair trade practices around the world.
Trump said the deal would "open up" Mexico and Canada to let Americans sell more goods to them, which makes it a victory for agricultural production and the "spirit" between the three nations.
"This new deal is an especially great victory for our farmers. Our farmers have gone through a lot over the last 15 years. They have been taken advantage of by everybody. Prices have gone way down," Trump said. "We're working on some other deals that are going to make them very happy, also, but this is a very, very big deal for our farmers. Mexico and Canada will be opened up a lot more than they are now, and I think there will be a better spirit between the three countries, which is important for our farmers."
He went on to argue auto workers will benefit because the original NAFTA deal hurt them by letting U.S. automakers make cars outside the country and sell them back in the U.S. with "no tax." He said the new agreement closes those "terrible loopholes," and now more cars will be made at home. He said American companies will no longer have the incentive to leave the U.S.
Trump said the benefits go beyond agricultural trade and manufacturing, and into intellectual property, the digital economy, and finance.
"Likewise, it will be the most advanced trade deal in the world with ambitious provisions on the digital economy, patents—very important—financial services, and other areas where the United States has a strong competitive advantage," Trump said. "Mexico and Canada have agreed to strong new labor protections, environmental protections, and new protections for intellectual property—so important."
He said all other countries should see it is a "privilege" to have access to U.S. markets. He listed a series of countries the U.S. trades with and said, "It’s a privilege for them to come in and attack the piggy bank."
He also argued North America would be a "manufacturing powerhouse" because of the deal and the ways in which he is shifting U.S. policy away from the Obama administration's de-emphasis on manufacturing.
"It will transform North America back into a manufacturing powerhouse. If you remember, the previous administration said we're not going to have manufacturing jobs anymore, essentially. We're not going to make things anymore? No, just the opposite," Trump said.