US President Barack Obama has signed into law a bill that would prohibit corporations from paying workers more than $10 per hour, which is the current federal minimum wage, and that would impose penalties on companies that do not comply.
Obama’s signing of the US-Canada Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was seen by some as a step towards US-EU trade deals, but many argue it could also be seen as a response to US voters’ concerns over the lack of corporate accountability in the US.
Ahead of the signing, a White House official told Reuters that the administration’s goal was to make it easier for American businesses to move overseas.
“This agreement is an important step forward to ensure that American businesses have more access to global markets, and this agreement will help to ensure the prosperity of the American people,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest.
The US trade agreement with Canada would take effect next month.
The European Union has also been working on a similar trade deal with Canada.
The deal would bring about more than a dozen free trade agreements in the United States and Canada.
They include a trade pact with Vietnam, a free trade agreement between Canada and Mexico, a trade agreement in which Japan, Canada, South Korea and the United Kingdom all signed up, and an agreement between Australia and New Zealand.
The Canadian government has said the agreement will boost the US economy by $7.6 trillion over the next decade.