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AP FACT CHECK: Trump on US-Mexican trade

February 6, 2019
AP Fact Check;

WASHINGTON (AP) — A look at one of President Donald Trump’s statements from his State of the Union address on Tuesday night and how it compares with the facts:

TRUMP: “Our new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement — or USMCA — will replace NAFTA and deliver for American workers: bringing back our manufacturing jobs, expanding American agriculture, protecting intellectual property, and ensuring that more cars are proudly stamped with the four beautiful words: MADE IN THE USA.”

THE FACTS: It’s unlikely to do all those things, since the new agreement largely preserves the structure and substance of NAFTA.

In one new feature, the deal requires that 40 percent of cars’ contents eventually be made in countries that pay autoworkers at least $16 an hour — that is, in the United States, or Canada, but not in Mexico. It also requires Mexico to pursue an overhaul of labor law to encourage independent unions that will bargain for higher wages and better working conditions for Mexicans.

Still, just before the agreement was signed, General Motors announced that it would lay off 14,000 workers and close five plants in the United States and Canada.

Philip Levy, senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and a trade official in Republican President George W. Bush’s White House, says: “President Trump has seriously overhyped this agreement.”

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