President Donald Trump during his State of the Union address Tuesday evening touted his recent conclusion of a new trilateral trade agreement with Mexico and Canada and securing of better terms for American businesses in a trade deal with China.
“I keep my promises. We did our job,” Trump told the packed congressional chamber during the televised address.
Trump said the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement (USMCA) — the replacement to the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement — “will create nearly 100,000 new high-paying American auto jobs and massively boost exports for our farmers, ranchers and factory workers.”
He also said the USMCA, which had bipartisan congressional support, provides the U.S. with “fairness and reciprocity” when one of the trade partners does not hold up its end of the agreement. Trump said it has been many years since the U.S. was treated fairly by its North American trade partners.
In addition, Trump highlighted his Jan. 15 signing of the so-called “phase one” trade deal with China, in which China committed to purchasing more than $200 billion in U.S. goods, including $50 billion in farm products, $75 billion in manufactured goods, $50 billion in energy commodities and $40 billion to $50 billion in financial and other services. The deal also has enforceable agreements against forced technology transfer and intellectual property theft.
“For decades, China has taken advantage of the United States,” Trump said, adding that the trade agreement has created the “best relationship we’ve ever had with China.”
Since taking office, the president has also concluded revised trade deals with the U.S.-Japan Trade and Digital Trade Agreements and the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement.
“President Trump has kept his promise to chart a new and better course for U.S. trade policy through fairer and more balanced agreements,” said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in a statement following the State of the Union. “This enormous success is only the beginning of what we will accomplish under his leadership.”
However, Trump pointed out that he has reinforced the decades-old U.S. trade embargo with Cuba and plans to strengthen sanctions against the regime of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who attended the State of the Union, received a standing ovation from U.S. lawmakers. The U.S. and scores of other nations now consider Guaidó the legitimate leader of his country, though Maduro remains in power.