During an AP interview last week President Trump first mentioned a possibility of complete withdrawal from the 25-year-old NAFTA agreement. Today several outlets are reporting on a draft executive action to do just that.
BACKGROUND: One of the problems with the NAFTA trade agreement (and most other trade deals) has been that no administration ever reevaluates them to measure their long-term impact since implementation. It has been almost 25 years since Bill Clinton signed NAFTA (’94) and only now in 2017 is the Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross evaluating the current value and measuring the economic impact to the U.S. in current terms.
Associated Press: What about NAFTA? What’s the plan on NAFTA?
TRUMP: What would you like to know?
AP: I would like to know what your plan is in terms of renegotiating.
TRUMP: I am very upset with NAFTA. I think NAFTA has been a catastrophic trade deal for the United States, trading agreement for the United States. It hurts us with Canada, and it hurts us with Mexico. Most people don’t even think of NAFTA in terms of Canada. You saw what happened yesterday in my statements, because if you look at the dairy farmers in Wisconsin and upstate New York, they are getting killed by NAFTA.
AP: Is your plan still, though, to renegotiate the whole deal?
TRUMP: I am going to either renegotiate it or I am going to terminate it.
AP: Termination is still on the table.
TRUMP: Absolutely. If they don’t treat fairly, I am terminating NAFTA.
AP: What’s a timeline for that decision?
TRUMP: It’s a six-month termination clause, I have the right to do it, it’s a six-month clause. (link)
Yesterday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross discussed the current NAFTA issues within this interview with Bloomberg News:
Today Via Politico – The Trump administration is considering an executive order on withdrawing the U.S. from NAFTA, according to two White House officials.
A draft order has been submitted for the final stages of review and could be unveiled late this week or early next week, the officials said. The effort, which still could change in the coming days as more officials weigh in, would indicate the administration’s intent to withdraw from the sweeping pact by triggering the timeline set forth in the deal. (read more)