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Trump to terminate NAFTA soon formally

02 Dec,2018

AFP, Washington:

US president Donald Trump said Saturday he would soon notify Congress that he planned to end the NAFTA agreement with Mexico and Canada in favor of a new regional trade deal, setting up a potential clash on Capitol Hill.

Trump, traveling home from a G20 summit in Argentina, told reporters aboard Air Force One that he would give formal notice to Congress on ‘terminating’ NAFTA ‘within a relatively short period of time.’

That would trigger a six-month waiting period before the US could leave the pact -- during that time, US lawmakers would be asked to approve the new deal signed on Friday with America's neighbors.

Trump says the new pact -- known in Washington as the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement -- will help US workers, especially in the auto industry, and better safeguard intellectual property.

‘We get rid of NAFTA. It's been a disaster for the United States,’ said Trump, who insisted that the North American Free Trade Agreement, in place for nearly a quarter-century, was a killer of American jobs.

‘That'll be terminated so Congress will have a choice of the USMCA or pre-NAFTA, which worked very well,’ the Republican president said.

The signing of USMCA was a victory for Trump, following months of tense and difficult negotiations with Ottawa and Mexico City.

Trump said Friday that he did not foresee a problem with getting congressional approval, but some Democrats -- who would control the US House of Representatives as of January -- had expressed skepticism.

Nancy Pelosi, the frontrunner to regain her position as Speaker of the House, on Friday called the deal a ‘work in progress.’

‘What isn't in it yet are enough enforcement reassurances regarding workers’ and the environment, she told a press conference.

‘This is not something that we have a piece of paper where we can say yes or no to it,’ said Pelosi, who added that Mexico had not yet passed a law on wages and working conditions.

The new deal also requires legislative approval in Canada and Mexico.

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