President Trump is again threatening a pullout of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), setting up a congressional showdown with the incoming Democrat-led House of Representatives.
The move is to force acceptance of Trump’s replacement for NAFTA, the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMACA), which he signed with Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto in Buenos Aires on the 30th of November.
If Trump makes good on his threat, congress would need to pass the USMCA within six months; failure to act could lead to the cancellation of both agreements, impacting free trade between the three countries.
The move comes as leaders in congress mull over the agreement, with neither Republicans nor Democrats happy with the new agreement.
Democrats want a trade bill that strengthen protections for American workers in the wake of lower-cost options abroad, particularly in the wake of General Motor’s announcement to shutter five U.S. factories.
Republicans, meanwhile, are angry over the LGBTQ protections in Section 23 of the USMCA, which call on the three countries to adopt policies for sexual orientation and gender identity, “in promotion of equality and elimination of employment discrimination.”
It remains unclear if President Trump can actually withdraw from NAFTA without congressional approval. Such things have rarely stopped this President before, however.