The U.S., Canada and Mexico signed a new trade deal championed by President Donald Trump to replace the quarter-century-old NAFTA pact, capping a year of intense negotiations and offering a glimmer of certainty amid rising global tensions over trade.
Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and outgoing Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto signed an authorization for the deal on Friday morning in Buenos Aires on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit, with their ministers signing it shortly after. The vast majority of the pact still needs to be ratified by lawmakers in the three countries but the signing enacts a handful of immediate protections, such as from auto tariffs.
The deal now heads to ratification, almost certainly by the next U.S. Congress, where Democrats will have a majority in the House starting in January. Uncertainties remain, as the original 1994 pact remains in effect, and tariffs on steel and aluminum continue to be a major irritant. Nonetheless, the signing concluded an arduous process that was marked by repeated threats from Trump to exit the continents free-trade zone.