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Canada approves North American trade deal

Canada approves North American trade deal
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Canada on Friday formally approved the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), taking the last legislative step to implementation of the deal to replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The trade deal, ratified by the Mexican legislature last June and by Congress in January, was formally ratified by the Canadian Senate Friday, and shortly thereafter received royal assent, the Canadian governor general's approval.

The deal was passed through the legislature before Parliament shut down for five weeks in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland — Canada's top trade negotiator — said passage of USMCA was critical amid the "unprecedented challenge from the coronavirus pandemic."

“Getting NAFTA done was something that was entirely within the power of Canadian legislators to do, and something we were able to do to help the Canadian economy at this challenging time,” said Freeland, according to the Financial Post.

With royal assent, the USMCA has cleared its last continental legislative hurdle to become the law of the land in all three signatory countries.

Canadian approval kicks off a three-month period for all three signatory countries to agree on implementation regulations, including naming each country's representatives for the conflict resolution mechanism.