President Trump’s new North American trade deal would lead to higher car prices for U.S. consumers and a decline in auto sales even as it modestly helps the nation’s broader economy, an independent government report estimated. That undercuts one of the White House’s key sales pitches for the agreement.
As reported by the Los Angeles Times, in its assessment of the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement — which would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA — the International Trade Commission (ITC) found the deal would have a modest beneficial impact on the American economy, adding 35%, or $68 billion, to U.S. gross domestic product in the sixth year after it took effect.
The report offered a much more skeptical view of tough new auto production rules, saying that while they would add 28,000 jobs in the auto sector, they would lead to a fall in vehicle assembly jobs due to higher production costs that would be a drag on U.S. manufacturing more broadly.
The ITC analysis points to a debate over one of the Trump administration’s main arguments for USMCA as it seeks lawmakers’ approval in the months to come: that it will lead to a surge in investment and jobs in an auto sector that has become one of the main drivers of the rising trade deficit with Mexico over the last 25 years.
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