New North American trade deal modestly boosts U.S. economy, trade panel finds

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The new North American free trade pact would modestly boost the U.S. economy, especially auto parts production, but may curb vehicle assembly and limit consumer choice in cars, a hotly anticipated analysis from the U.S. International Trade Commission showed on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto sign documents during the USMCA signing ceremony before the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 30, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

The ITC report is a crucial step in the push for Congress to consider ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, signed by President Donald Trump and the leaders of the other two countries last year to replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement.

The report estimates that U.S. real gross domestic product would increase by 0.35 percent, or $68.5 billion, on an annual basis compared to a NAFTA baseline, and would add 176,000 U.S. jobs, while raising U.S. exports.

The ITC’s estimates are for year six of the trade deal, once it is fully implemented.

The trade deal’s success or failure in Congress could be determined by how it is expected to affect the U.S. auto industry, a