POTUS Donald Trump is reportedly considering canceling U.S. participation in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as a way to force Democrats to vote for the new United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) his administration renegotiated in its place.
As reported by the Washington Examiner, the president is huddling with advisers regarding the strong-arm tactic that would either force resistant Democrats to approve the new agreement or face backlash from voters.
Two sources who requested anonymity told the news site that the president has yet to make his decision but that withdrawing from NAFTA had definitely been discussed.
“As crazy as it sounds, you’ve got to have some kind of catalyst to get things to move,” one White House staffer told the Examiner, who added that the administration’s preference is to negotiate an agreement on USMCA rather than force Democrats’ hands.
That said, former White House staffers told the news site that it’s increasingly likely that POTUS will simply pull out of NAFTA.
“It could be that he withdraws [from NAFTA] before [USMCA ratification] even reaches Congress,” said Marc Short, former White House director of legislative affairs. “I think there’s a high probability of that, yes.”
News of a potential NAFTA pullout comes amid reports that China, for the first time, has opened its markets to American rice, giving POTUS Trump yet another victory on trade.
Talks between U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators are expected to resume in January.
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