Canada-based Global News reports U.S. President Donald Trump may terminate the North American Free Trade Agreement to get more from Mexico and Canada during the ongoing renegotiation effort. Round two of the negotiations started Friday in Mexico City, Mexico. Most analysts believe the heated rhetoric is a negotiating tactic – but that doesn’t mean Trump won’t actually start the process of terminating the agreement.
Trump argues the agreement has cost the United States jobs and industrial capacity, but any move to begin the termination process would be met with stiff U.S. opposition. The Agriculture industry vocally opposed, as Mexico and Canada are two of the industry’s biggest trading partners. Depending on the year Canada is either the largest or second largest export destination for U.S. agriculture, while Mexico is consistently the third largest market. Combined, they account for about one-third of U.S. agricultural exports. Since implementation, agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico have totaled approximately $310 billion and increased by more than 300 percent from pre-NAFTA levels, according to the American Farm Bureau.
While Canada and Mexico have also made cases for the U.S. to remain in the accord, Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo told Reuters last week that the two nations would stay true to the free trade agreement – with or without Trump and the U.S.
The president could trigger the termination process and then stop it at the last minute, but Carla Hills, who presided over the original NAFTA talks for the U.S., says Trump is not likely to terminate the deal “anytime soon.” She says those in the Trump Administration assure her the President was referring to a mechanism that could be enacted five years from now, after an assessment had been made into whether all three parties had met their commitments. The current round of trade negotiation wraps up today (Tuesday, September 5th), with the next expected to take place in Ottawa towards the end of the month.