Economy

Report: White House Considers an Order to Withdraw From NAFTA

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

It's not clear to me if the White House has the authority to unilaterally withdraw from a trade agreement ratified by Congress, but they're reportedly drafting an executive order to do that.

Unnamed officials confirmed reports that such an order is "under consideration."

A draft executive order to withdraw the United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement is under consideration, a senior Trump administration official said on Wednesday, confirming an earlier report from Politico. [...]

Trump has accused Mexico of destroying U.S. jobs, and this week he set 20 percent tariffs on imports of Canadian softwood lumber, setting a tense tone as the three countries prepared to renegotiate the 23-year-old trade pact.

I'm skeptical this will happen because it would be very, very bad for business and various business lobbies are going to spend the entire summer campaigning against it, but in that event there's no good way to say this: we're all fucked.

Or at least people who, like me, worry about the cost of food and other necessities on a daily basis. We're fucked.

You can sit there and bleat about "neoliberals" or "corporate shills" or whatever else. None of that matters. Ideology goes right out the window when you can't afford to eat anymore and a trade war with Mexico and Canada, our biggest trading partners, is a one-way ticket to wildly expensive grocery bills. Even the cost of other necessities like shampoo and pet food would be under the gun.

This may be bullshit. This may be a leak intended to show that Trump is doing something as the 100th day approaches. We don't know. I certainly hope that's the case, but even if it is a bluff or bullshit, simply talking about it can roil markets.

Democrats need to retake control of Congress just to prevent Trump from destroying us for reasons, and through means, that he doesn't even understand. When Trump says American workers or consumers are getting a raw deal from Canada or Mexico, there's 99.9 percent chance Trump actually has no idea what he's talking about.

Trump's tariffs on Canadian lumber, for example, isn't going to help American workers or consumers. It will increase the cost of construction which could even encourage the use of more immigrant labor.

  • Trump’s tariffs on Canadian lumber…will increase the cost of construction which could even encourage the use of more immigrant labor.

    Not to mention the cost of new housing construction, a perennial bellwether for the economy as a whole.

  • Scopedog

    Democrats need to retake control of Congress just to prevent Trump from destroying us for reasons, and through means, that he doesn’t even understand.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fa58ca5b21386482d035a998f371eae6ccb564d484d1d522d6188063faa37455.gif

    …Of course, that requires us pounding this point home, every fucking day, into the heads of the purists and those who choose not to vote. Because they are part of the reason why we are where we are now.

  • muselet

    Again, Donald Trump is so desperate for first-100-days accomplishments, he’s decided to pick a trade fight that will hurt … well, everyone.

    A disruption in trade between the three NAFTA partners could wreak havoc in the auto sector and other industries, hitting profits at companies that have benefited from zero-level tariffs and Mexico’s relatively low labor costs.

    […]

    Scrapping NAFTA would also hit U.S. farmers whose exports to Mexico have grown under NAFTA.

    I’m tired of all the winning. Anyone else?

    Also, this—

    “Mr. President, America’s corn farmers helped elect you,” the National Corn Growers Association said in a statement. “Withdrawing from NAFTA would be disastrous for American agriculture.”

    —is genuinely irritating. It would have been nice for the members of the National Corn Growers Association to, you know, think about the consequences of voting for someone who called NAFTA “the worst trade deal ever” and promised to either renegotiate the agreement or scrap it. He didn’t exactly hide his position, folks.

    Sheesh.

    –alopecia

  • Georgie

    Isn’t terrible that we have no idea which way the loony tune will turn, he could just pronounce “nah not going to that, maybe next year,” I believe I’m going to be insane at the end of his 4 years.

  • Dread_Pirate_Mathius

    It’s not clear to me if the White House has the authority to unilaterally withdraw from a trade agreement ratified by Congress

    Let me help you out a bit here: no. No he fucking can’t.