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U.S. Trade czar trumpets new NAFTA auto provisions amid skepticism

U.S. Trade czar trumpets new NAFTA auto provisions amid skepticism
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OTTAWA - The Trump administration is launching a new charm offensive to sell the merits of the new North American free trade pact to counter growing skepticism about the economic benefits of the deal.

The U.S. Trade Representative says the new, yet-to-be-ratified deal will bring auto jobs back to the U.S. from Mexico.

A new nine-page “white paper,” says the new continental trade deal will generate $57 billion in new auto manufacturing investments and create 76,000 new jobs in the American automotive sector in the next five years.

The complicated content formula for what constitutes a North American-made auto — known as rules of origin — and updated labour provisions aimed at Mexico were key issues in the contentious renegotiation of North American Free Trade Agreement.

A senior USTR official, who briefed journalists on the condition of anonymity, dismissed a report from the International Monetary Fund last month which said the new rules of origin and the labour provisions would lead to a decline in vehicle production in all three countries.

The new USTR report, however, makes no mention of the punishing steel and aluminium tariffs that President Donald Trump imposed on Canadian and Mexican steel imports — duties both countries cite as obstacles to ratifying the new pact.
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