Trump says he won't pull US out of NAFTA


The White House announcement came hours after administration officials said Trump was considering a draft executive order to withdraw the US from the deal - though administration officials cautioned it was just one of a number of options being discussed by the president and his staff.

President Trump and the leaders of Mexico and Canada agreed Wednesday to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the White House said Wednesday night.

As president, Trump has broad authority on trade policy, including the power to withdraw from NAFTA without votes by Congress, according to many legal analysts.

The White House statement said that Trump spoke with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Describing the conversations as "pleasant and productive", the statement said: "President Trump agreed not to terminate Nafta at this time and the leaders agreed to proceed enable the renegotiation of the Nafta deal to the benefit of all three countries".

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Ross has said that lumber and dairy have erupted as irritants because they are not properly addressed in the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Trump had threatened to scrap if it can't be renegotiated.

It was under an executive order signed by Trump on January 23 that the United States pulled out of the sweeping Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. President Donald Trump and others blame NAFTA for losses to the manufacturing industry, but USA agriculture generally has benefited from the agreement.

And Monday, the Commerce Department said it would begin charging a tariff on the import of softwood lumber from Canada into the United States, alleging Canada was improperly subsidizing its domestic timber firms.

The first administration source told Reuters that there were diverging opinions within the US government about how to proceed and it was possible that Trump could sign the executive order before the 100-day mark of his presidency.

Trump has not made a final decision, but if he were to sign the executive action notifying the two nations, it would begin a 6-month process to initiate withdrawal. "However, while there are opportunities to modify and modernize the current NAFTA agreement, withdrawing from this trade agreement would severely and negatively impact Minnesota's farmers and ranchers".

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Last week, Trump also called Canada's dairy protections "unfair".

Even threatening to withdraw from NAFTA could heighten tensions with Mexico and Canada, which are close allies and trading partners.

"The possibility of withdrawing from NAFTA is a very scary thing for corn, because we do a lot of export business for corn (to) Mexico", said Ted Seifried, chief market strategist with the Zaner Group in Chicago.

The White House has been considering an executive order as early as Trump's 100th day in office on Saturday, but there was a split among his top advisers over whether to take the step.

The Trump administration last month submitted a vague set of guidelines to Congress for renegotiating NAFTA, disappointing those who were expecting Trump to demand a major overhaul.

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Reports today of the possible move drew objections from some in Congress, including Sen. John McCain of Arizona.