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Although most trade experts were surprised the final deal turned out as well as it did -- incorporating many of the improvements from the Trans-Pacific Partnership that Trump jettisoned by backing out of that agreement on his first day in office -- they say Washington's heavy-handed approach worked.

"It's sad to say that," said Patrick Leblond, a trade expert with Canada's Center for International Governance Innovation.

Trump made unacceptable demands "and then added all these threats," which gained credibility when Trump actually followed through with tariffs on steel and aluminum, Leblond said.

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