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NAFTA is dead, long live… USMCA? On Sunday evening, Canada agreed at the 11th hour to join a revised NAFTA with the United States and Mexico, now called the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The three countries will move from a deal that President Trump has called “the single worst trade deal” the United States has ever done to one he says is “the most important trade deal we’ve ever made so far.” A subtle arc. Well, since my fellow Signalista Willis Sparks enjoys writing pieces with lots of acronyms, I’ll pass the mic to him for a quick take…

The key change that the US has won in the agreement – aside from the name – is that it requires automobiles to include more content from North American suppliers and demands that more of each car be made by auto workers who earn at least $16 an hour.

In addition, it opens up a bit more room for US exporters in Canada’s tightly protected dairy market, strengthens intellectual property protections for American companies, and creates a clause that says the deal expires after 16 years and must be reviewed after six.

The single biggest concession Trump made was to preserve a special US-Mexico-Canada panel that rules on tariff grievances among the three signatories. The White House had wanted to scrap that panel altogether, but the Canadians managed to hold the line. Trump has also said that now he won’t hit Mexico and Canada with crippling new auto tariffs (though steel tariffs against Canada are still in place).

The changes here are more than mere tweaks, but far short of an overhaul. Still, there are four reasons why this is a clear political win for President Trump and could reasonably have been called the Triumphantly Rejiggered Unbelievable Manufacturing Pact (T.R.U.M.P).

  • Washington got most of what it wanted here, full stop. Trump’s strategy paid off: he threatened everyone with tariffs, and got Mexico aboard a new agreement back in August, which put pressure on Canada to deal ahead of Sunday's deadline.


  • Trump has replaced a deal signed by Bill Clinton with one that will bear his signature.


  • Trump – who railed against NAFTA on the campaign trail – can show that that he’s a president who keeps his promises.


  • Heading into mid-terms (and looking ahead to 2020) Trump has buried the worst fears of trade disruptions with the US’ second- and third-largest trade partners.


Two questions to consider: Following the successful completion of small tweaks to the US trade deal with South Korea and a sort of trade truce with Europe, are we seeing signs that Trump will try to win support from other governments to focus more pressure on China and its trade practices? And would others, after all the unpleasantness, be willing go along with that?

Khant Thaw Htoo is a young engineer who works in Eni's Sakura Tower office in the heart of Yangon. As an HSE engineer, he monitors the safety and environmental impact of onshore and offshore operations. He also looks out for his parents' well-being, in keeping with Myanmar's traditions.

Learn more about Khant in the final episode of the Faces of Eni series, which focuses on Eni's employees around the world.

Over the weekend, some 40,000 people in Moscow and thousands more across Russia braved subzero temperatures to turn out in the streets in support of imprisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. More than 3,000 protesters were arrested, and Navalny called on his followers to prepare for more action in the coming weeks.

But just who is Alexei Navalny, and how significant is the threat that he may pose to Vladimir Putin's stranglehold on power in Russia?

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The United States has never been more divided, and it's safe to say that social media's role in our national discourse is a big part of the problem. But renowned tech journalist Kara Swisher doesn't see any easy fix. "I don't know how you fix the architecture of a building that is just purposely dangerous for everybody." Swisher joins Ian Bremmer to talk about how some of the richest companies on Earth, whose business models benefit from discord and division, can be compelled to see their better angels. Their conversation was part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take (part 1):

Ian Bremmer here, happy Monday. And have your Quick Take to start off the week.

Maybe start off with Biden because now President Biden has had a week, almost a week, right? How was it? How's he doing? Well, for the first week, I would say pretty good. Not exceptional, but not bad, not bad. Normal. I know everyone's excited that there's normalcy. We will not be excited there's normalcy when crises start hitting and when life gets harder and we are still in the middle of a horrible pandemic and he has to respond to it. But for the first week, it was okay.

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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Russian opposition leader Navalny in jail. Hundreds of thousands demonstrating across the country in Russia over well over 100 cities, well over 3000 arrested. And Putin responding by saying that this video that was put out that showed what Navalny said was Putin's palace that costs well over a billion dollars to create and Putin, I got to say, usually he doesn't respond to this stuff very quickly. Looked a little defensive, said didn't really watch it, saw some of it, but it definitely wasn't owned by him or owned by his relatives.

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The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.


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