New North American trade agreement heads to Congress

Donald Trump says he'll terminate Nafta

Trump says he'll be 'formally terminating NAFTA shortly' in a move that puts pressure on Congress

The original NAFTA deal is back on top of Donald Trump's hit list, with the USA president declaring he intends to terminate the 24-year-old trade pact - a move created to pressure lawmakers on Capitol Hill to approve its recently negotiated successor.

The expiration of the United States' participation in this trade deal, according to the President, will happen in a short period of time, although as part of the agreement, countries must give a six month notice prior to their withdrawal.

"I will be formally terminating NAFTA shortly", Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One on his way home from Argentina. If Trump pulls out of NAFTA and the House rejects the new pact, it could deal a major blow to North American free trade.

Now that the leaders of the United States, Canada and Mexico have signed the agreement, it needs ratification from legislators in all three countries before taking effect.

"We appreciate the administration's continued efforts to modernize our nation's existing trade agreements and help grow USA automotive manufacturing with new agreements like the USMCA", said Matt Blunt, president of the American Automotive Policy Council.

If Congress doesn't approve the replacement agreement and Trump follows through on his new threat to scrap NAFTA, it could leave Mexican- and Canadian-made vehicles facing additional tariffs and regulations of various kinds.

In a blog entry posted shortly after the agreement was signed Friday, Cato Institute trade analyst Simon Lester appeared to anticipate Trump's move - although he acknowledged it would have made a lot more sense if the Republicans still had control of Congress. MacNaughton said Canadian diplomats will rev up their machine to lobby members of Congress for their support. "While we'll have to watch and ensure we get through this next stage, we have a high level of confidence that's achievable".

"We take everything seriously", Morneau said when asked whether he took the president's comments at face value.

The United Auto Workers, a longtime critic of NAFTA, raised similar concerns after the ceremonial signing of the trade pact in Buenos Aires.

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