President Donald Trump welcomed Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to the White House Wednesday to celebrate the new United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, which was signed in January and took effect earlier this month.
“It’s the largest, fairest and most advanced trade deal ever reached by any country, and it will bring enormous prosperity to both American and Mexican workers,” Trump said in the Rose Garden.
Trump and López Obrador held a meeting in the White House before signing a joint declaration that commits the two countries to “shared future prosperity.” They will have a working dinner with U.S. and Mexican business leaders Wednesday night.
The USMCA was signed in January to replace the 26-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Trump campaigned in 2016 on getting rid of NAFTA, which he called “one of the worst trade deals in history” Wednesday. He touted the USMCA as a signature achievement in this year’s State of the Union address.
The new trade deal includes new country-of-origin rules for automobiles, new labor protections, increased access to the Canadian dairy market, better environmental standards and some intellectual property provisions.
Mexico is the largest goods trading partner of the United States, as $1.6 billion worth of trade crosses America’s southern border every day, according to the White House.
The meeting is Lopez Abrador’s first trip abroad since his landslide victory in 2018 and is only the second foreign leader to visit the White House since the coronavirus pandemic began.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the two leaders also briefly spoke about preventing illegal immigration Wednesday.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was unable to travel to the White House for the event, but Trump indicated Wednesday that the two leaders will be meeting soon.