Renegotiate or Withdraw from NAFTA
Current Status: In ProgressAs of
"I will begin taking the following seven actions to protect American workers:
FIRST, I will announce my intention to renegotiate NAFTA or withdraw from the deal under Article 2205;"
- "Donald Trump's Contract With The American Voter," October 2016
"I am going to renegotiate NAFTA. And if I can't make a great deal -- then we're going to terminate NAFTA and we're going to create new deals. We're going to have trade, but we're going -- we're going to terminate it, we're going to make a great trade deal."
- Donald Trump, Third Presidential Debate, Oct 2016
Trump would have to bring Mexico and Canada back to the table and get Congress to approve a new deal, but the United States can withdraw from the treaty six months after giving written notice.
No action was taken on his first day in office, but on January 22nd, Trump said he had scheduled meetings with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to begin the process of renegotiation. However, Mexico's president cancelled the scheduled meeting with Trump in response to the executive order on building the Mexico wall.
Despite the tensions surrounding the wall, sources said in February 2017 that it appears the Mexico and the U.S. might be taking steps to evaluate NAFTA for renegotiation. In March 2017, signals from the administration indicated that the changes may be more modest than originally proposed by Trump.
In late April 2017, after a call with the leaders of Canada and Mexico, Trump agreed not to terminate NAFTA "at this time" and would instead look to renegotiate terms of the treaty. Over the Summer of 2017, there would be many false starts and cancellations on negotiations over the deal, but negotiators finally met in August 2017, but as late as April 2018 no significant movement had been made.
A burst of negotiations in April and May 2018 failed to move much further owing to what some business groups called "poison pills" - demands that the other parties in the negotiations could not possibly accept. Additionally, in late May 2018, US tariffs on steel and aluminum from the EU, Canada, and Mexico threatened a trade war that could cast further doubt on the negotiating process.
The process is still ongoing.