U.S. Won’t Terminate NAFTA “At This Time,” White House Says
President Trump has informed the leaders of Canada and Mexico that he has “agreed not to terminate NAFTA at this time,” according to a White House statement. The leaders also “agreed to proceed swiftly … to enable the renegotiation of the NAFTA deal to the benefit of all three countries.”
Trump has repeatedly criticized NAFTA and had reportedly been close to issuing an executive order announcing that the U.S. would withdraw from it shortly before agreeing to renegotiate it. According to press reports, Trump said that the U.S. will “give renegotiation a good, strong shot” but that he reserves the right to terminate NAFTA if the U.S. is “unable to make a fair deal.”
Formal talks cannot begin until 90 days after the president notifies Congress of his intent to renegotiate the agreement. A Reuters article cited one administration official as saying that will not happen until the full Senate confirms Robert Lighthizer as U.S. trade representative. The Senate Finance Committee approved Lighthizer’s nomination April 24.