Donald Trump’s team is readying an executive order to take the US out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta), it has been reported.
Withdrawing from the trade agreement between Canada, Mexico, and the US was one of Mr Trump’s key promises on the campaign trail in 2016. He claimed it is a “job killer” and was antithetical to his “America First” approach to governing.
The order has been submitted for final review to the appropriate teams within the White House and may be signed as early as the next few days.
The deal, one of the largest trade agreement in the world, was originally signed in 1994 by President Bill Clinton and allows free trade between the three countries in North America.
Mr Trump speaking in Wisconsin recently said that the agreement has been “very, very bad for our companies and for our workers, and we’re going to make some very big changes or we are going to get rid of Nafta once and for all.”
The White House confirmed that Peter Navarro, head of the National Trade Council, drafted the bill with Trump strategist Steve Bannon, Politico reported.
This is not Mr trump’s first foray into withdrawing the US from major trade agreements. Early in his term, he took the US out of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which was close to being fully approved among the 12 nations participating.
He has also caused a rift with Canada aside from Nafta. Canada lowered its pricing on domestic milk, making Canadian milk more competitive in the market. According to Mr Trump this puts US dairy farmers at a disadvantage.
In response, he has imposed a new tariff on softwood lumber coming to the US from Canada. Legal disputes over lumber imports and exports have been fought at the US Department of Commerce for several years.
Withdrawing from Nafta exacerbates an already shaky relationship between the US and Mexico. Mr Trump has been consistently promising his base of support that he will build a nearly 2,000 mile border wall.
He said it was specifically to stop illegal immigration into the US. However on the campaign trail, he continually promised that Mexico would pay for such a wall with no explanation of how he would get them to finance the project, which many estimates put at close to $25 billion.