Canada takes Trump’s threats to withdraw from NAFTA ‘seriously’, Morneau says

Mae Love
December 4, 2018

The President needs to talk to Congress on this.

Seeking to gain leverage with skeptical lawmakers to approve the revised trade pact, Trump said Congress "will have a choice" as it considers the agreement he signed.

"I'll be terminating it within a relatively short period of time". He threatened to tear it up and withdraw the United States completely at times during the negotiation, which would have left trade between the three neighbours in disarray.

'We (will) get rid of NAFTA, ' he told reporters.

Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau says Canada takes seriously comments made by U.S. President Donald Trump about withdrawing from the North American Free Trade Agreement.

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AP via CP Former President of Mexico Enrique Pena Nieto, left, U.S. President Donald Trump, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, participate in the USMCA signing ceremony, November 30, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and one of more than a dozen names believed to be eyeing a presidential run in 2020, has added her name to the list of lawmakers who say they won't support the new agreement in its current form. It passed Congress the following year, and took effect in 1994.

Trade experts have long suspected Trump, who has made beating up on NAFTA a central feature of his political career, might play the termination card in an effort to light a fire under the deal's critics.

"What isn't in it yet is enough enforcement reassurances regarding workers, provisions that relate to workers and to the environment", she said.

But Morneau told a gathering in NY today he had no insight into when that might happen. Since Democrats now control the House of Representatives, their support will be crucial for the USMCA to get Congressional approval. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Penn.) has said that he thinks the new deal is a step back from NAFTA, and that before he could support it, it would need to get a "few tweaks that move it in the direction of a more pro-trade agreement".

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