Editor’s note: CPA believed it was likely that President Trump would terminate NAFTA as he sought approval for the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement. This article confirms our belief. Doing so significantly increases the odds for passage. CPA has taken no position on the USMCA at this time.
The president on Saturday made official what has long been expected: He will initiate the termination of NAFTA to set up a stark choice for Congress – pass his new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement or live with no deal at all.
[December 3, 2018 | Inside US Trade]
“I will be formally terminating NAFTA shortly,” Trump told reporters after the conclusion of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires. “Just so you understand, when I do that, if for any reason we’re unable to make the deal, that’s … because Congress, then Congress will have a choice of approving the USMCA, which is a phenomenal deal. Much, much better than NAFTA. A great deal.”
Congress, he added, “will have a choice of the USMCA or pre-NAFTA, which worked very well. You got out, you negotiate your deals. It worked very well.”
While several lawmakers in both parties have criticized the new deal and urged the administration to address their concerns in the implementing language, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said last week that he was confident USMCA would pass with support form both sides.
“I want to remind everyone that this was negotiated from the beginning to be a bipartisan agreement,” Lighthizer said on Nov. 30 after the signing of the deal on the sidelines of the G20 summit. “Democrats were involved from the beginning, the middle and the end. I seldom go a day without talking to one of the Democratic leaders – and the same thing is true of the Republicans. The president’s instruction to me from the beginning that he wants a bipartisan agreement.”