Published: Thu, April 27, 2017
World | By Tasha Manning

White House readying order to quit NAFTA

White House readying order to quit NAFTA

US President Donald Trump is considering notifying Canada and Mexico that he is starting the process to withdraw the United States from the three nations' North American Free Trade Agreement, three people familiar with the process said.

The order has been submitted for final review to the appropriate teams within the White House and may be signed as early as the next few days.

The approach appears created to extract better terms with Canada and Mexico. Trump in recent weeks has stepped up his rhetoric vowing to terminate the agreement altogether.

As president, Trump has broad authority on trade policy, including the power to withdraw from NAFTA without votes by Congress, according to many legal analysts.

Trump is also under pressure to take action on NAFTA before Saturday, the 100th day of his presidency, by which point he pledged to make good on a slew of campaign promises.

In the election he vowed to withdraw from the 23-year-old pact, calling it a United States job killer. "I hope he doesn't do that".

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"NAFTA's been very, very bad for our country", Trump said in a speech last week in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

"Getting a deal done by early 2018 or the end of this year was wishful thinking", said Gary Clyde Hufbauer, a trade expert at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

In February, Mr. Trump appeared alongside Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the White House and called their trade relationship "outstanding", promising a "very fair deal" for both Mexico and Canada.

On Tuesday, the U.S. lost a trade battle with the other Nafta signatory. Researchers concluded the deal has had a minor impact on the U.S. economy.

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Canadian and Mexican officials say they are already ready to renegotiate.

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