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Trump takes victory lap for USMCA at Michigan auto supplier

Tracy Samilton

President Donald Trump touted the benefits of the nation's new North American free trade agreement, known as the U.S-Mexico-Canada Agreement, at an event at the Warren factory of Dana, Inc.

The president signed the agreement Wednesday.

Trump said the new deal will bring jobs and factories back to the U.S.

"NAFTA was the worst free trade deal probably ever made, by any country." Trump said. "They took our jobs for a long time, and now we have a brand new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. It's a whole new ball game."

The president's optimism about the impact of the new deal is not shared by experts on manufacturing, who say the deal is a modernization of NAFTA, and a modest improvement, but is unlikely to bring jobs and plants back from Mexico.

The president also spoke about his approval of funding for the Soo Locks. The project will deepen the channel and construct a new lock chamber to allow larger vessels to pass through. The initial federal funds of $75 million are expected to be followed by larger appropriations in the years ahead, for a project that could cost nearly a billion dollars overall.

Trump made a brief mention of the impeachment trial in the Senate, but largely focused on favorite topics including his 2016 victory over Hillary Clinton, the size of the crowd at his last 2016 campaign stop in Grand Rapids, and his win of Michigan in the election.

His speech was briefly interrupted twice by some in the crowd chanting "Four more years!" and then "USA!"

But the president's speech was largely devoid of his more vitriolic attacks on the press, Nancy Pelosi, and Democratic presidential candidates that are common features in his rallies held before larger crowds.

The president's appearance was also relatively brief, with his speech coming in well under an hour.


Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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