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Deal done, now breathe

(Photo by George Longley)

Say goodbye to NAFTA, and say hello to the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

In keeping with how many international trade negotiations play out, Canada struck a last-minute agreement with its biggest trader late on Sunday night.

While the agreement is not 100 per cent in the books, as it requires lawyers to give a final read through, this news was welcomed by many Canadians.

With the apocalyptic daily headlines and threatening language from U.S President Donald Trump, uncertainties about trade relations with our closest neighbour were reaching never before seen levels throughout 2018.

These fears were particularly hefty for those in the auto industry, with threats of 25 per cent tariffs on Canadian automobiles made by Trump. These tariffs, if enacted, would have been crippling to Oshawa’s economy which is still heavily reliant on the auto industry.

This looming issue found its way into the local municipal election, as when candidates spoke on the booming economy in Oshawa they sometimes had to note that a great deal of that progress could be negated by these tariffs.

Considering the president’s habit of making threats and not following up on them (is that wall built yet?), some may have simply brushed off the thoughts of those tariffs, but it was a scary thought none the less.

The reality is that Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as pointed out by Oshawa MPP Colin Carrie in the past, actually had little to do with the NAFTA negotiations.

And although the two leaders got most of the press, it was the negotiating teams of both sides that should receive the credit, or lack of, depending on opinion, for finally striking the deal.

The federal government’s position through the negotiation process has always been that it would only accept a “fair deal” for Canada.

Whether the deal is “fair” or not is truly up to one’s own interpretation and it remains to be seen how it will all play out.

For now, however, it appears Oshawa and the auto industry can breathe a sigh of relief and focus on business.

As well, hopefully, the federal government can move forward and focus on the growing list of other issues it needs to address.