Administration officials are divided over a draft executive order to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement and butting heads on whether to issue a notification to withdraw at the same time the White House formally notifies Congress of its intent to renegotiate the deal, multiple sources tell Inside U.S. Trade.
[Jack Caporal & Jenny Leonard] April 26th, 2017 [Inside U.S. Trade]
The National Economic Council met Wednesday afternoon to discuss the executive order and the possibility of issuing both notifications at once, but no decisions have been made, these sources say.
One source said the administration is set to make a decision on the order Thursday. Industries have been asked to weigh in on a NAFTA withdrawal, and government agencies were given until the close of business Wednesday to comment on the draft withdrawal order, sources said.
Sources say Peter Navarro, head of the National Trade Council, led the authoring of the order.
Some sources said the main argument for issuing the order would be to gain leverage over Mexico and Canada and to up the pressure to conclude a renegotiated deal that would favor the interests of the United States.
Other sources say President Trump is under pressure to follow through on core campaign promises — which included the renegotiation or withdrawal of NAFTA — and appeal to his base as a 100-day milestone draws near. Playing hardball on NAFTA may be his way of swinging for the fences, they suggested.