Trump says will formally terminate NAFTA soon

Andrew Cummings
December 4, 2018

Last Friday, the leaders of the United States, Mexico, and Canada signed the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) on the sidelines of the G-20 meeting in Argentina.

Trump says the new pact - known in Washington as the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) - will help US workers, especially in the auto industry, and better safeguard intellectual property.

"It's disappointing but not surprising" that the USA president would try to force Congress to reinstate the status quo of #NAFTA, instead of working constructively with Congress to improve his proposed agreement, Henry Connelly, a spokesman for House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, said on Twitter Sunday morning.

Speaking following the signing of the USMCA deal, US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said: "The new USMCA makes important specific changes that are beneficial to our agricultural producers".

Trade experts have long suspected Trump, who has made beating up on NAFTA a central feature of his political career, might play the termination card in an effort to light a fire under the deal's critics.

A 2016 congressional research report said there is a debate over whether a president can withdraw from a trade deal without the consent of Congress, and there is no historical precedent for the unilateral withdrawal from an free trade deal by a president that had been approved by Congress.

"I think we should see if we can get it passed first", Republican Senator John Barrasso said on NBC News' Meet the Press Sunday.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who is presumed to be the next speaker of the House of Representatives, indicated Friday that House Democrats weren't ready to give their support to this deal yet.

Legislators in Canada and Mexico must still approve the pact.

The ambassador said he's pleased that a side letter to the treaty assures Canada that no similar tariffs can be applied to cars made in Canada and exported to the United States.

The North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect on 1 January 1994 in order to establish a trilateral trade bloc in North America.

"The ceremonies, the signing - the president's very happy with all of that".

Shortly after Friday's signing, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer insisted that the deal was negotiated with bipartisan support from both Democrats and Republicans, and expressed confidence it would survive the congressional approval process.

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