Trump threat­ens to pull U.S. out of old NAFTA

With­drawal would give Congress choice be­tween new trade deal and no deal at all

StarMetro Vancouver - - BIG OPINIONS - Daniel Dale

WASH­ING­TON—U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump says he will with­draw the United States from NAFTA “in the not-tood­is­tant fu­ture” in a hard­ball at­tempt to pres­sure Congress into vot­ing to ap­prove his new agree­ment with Canada and Mex­ico.

The orig­i­nal North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment would oth­er­wise re­main in place if Congress re­jected or de­layed the new deal, which Trump calls the USMCA. A Trump with­drawal would give Congress a take-it-or­leave-it choice be­tween the new deal and no deal at all.

The new agree­ment has been crit­i­cized by both Democrats and Repub­li­cans, leav­ing its prospects for pas­sage uncertain. The Democrats, who will take con­trol of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives in Jan­uary, have made clear they do not plan to ap­prove the deal any time soon.

Trump’s an­nounce­ment late Satur­day in­tro­duced new un­cer­tainty into the trad­ing re­la­tion­ship just a day af­ter the lead­ers of the three coun­tries held a sign­ing cer­e­mony for the new deal.

The Cana­dian gov­ern­ment de­clined to com­ment on the record. “We are fo­cused on our do­mes­tic rat­i­fi­ca­tion process and not a process that is in­ter­nal to the U.S.,” an of­fi­cial said.

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