Trump Threatens to Pull Out of NAFTA to Secure New Deal

Muriel Colon
December 5, 2018

"I will be formally terminating NAFTA shortly", Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One on his way home from a G20 summit in Argentina.

The original NAFTA deal is back on top of Donald Trump's hit list, with the US president declaring he intends to terminate the 24-year-old trade pact - a move created to pressure lawmakers on Capitol Hill to approve its recently negotiated successor. "We hope this 90-day tariff pause will lead to a positive resolution that removes tariffs altogether and improves U.S". The move seems to be aimed at the new Democratic House, which will take over next year - and may not approve the USMCA. Mr Trump seems to have opted for diplomacy at the end of a political barrel, telling reporters on Saturday that Democrats "will have a choice" of whether to approve the deal as written or risk the consequences.

U.S. Congress can suggest small changes to be made to the legislation, and many lawmakers have been waiting for an economic impact study from the U.S. International Trade Commission before making their final decision.

AFBF President Zippy Duvall said, "In every way, this new agreement is just as good, if not better than, the one that came before". The agreement is subject to approval by Congress and votes by the Canadian Parliament and Mexican Congress are also required.

Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., a prominent free-trade advocate, said in an interview that he could not support the agreement as drafted because he believes it would diminish trade across the continent.


"NAFTA was in need of an update, particularly in areas like digital commerce that didn't exist a quarter-century ago", said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay in a press release. There are many provisions that will be popular with constituents throughout the country, and Crawford said it would be a "gross miscalculation" by House Democrats if they try to stop or change the agreement.

Hailing the deal as "modern and balanced", the president said at the signing ceremony that it has been "well-reviewed" and he doesn't expect to have much problem in Congress.

The agreement does include a 16-year sunset provision, but the three countries will meet every six years to decide whether to renew the pact, which potentially keeps the agreement going in perpetuity.

Presumptive incoming Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi described the deal as a "work in progress" that lacks worker and environment protections. "While we'll have to watch and ensure we get through this next stage, we have a high level of confidence that's achievable". Senator Marco Rubio of Florida tweeted on Friday that the deal as drafted would put Florida's seasonal vegetable growers "out of business".

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