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article imageTrump threatens Congress — Stay out of my plans for NAFTA

By Karen Graham     Sep 2, 2018 in Politics
U.S. President Donald Trump warned Congress on Saturday not to interfere with his plans for a new North American Free Trade Agreement or he would cancel the deal entirely.
Trump again took to Twitter on Saturday, reports the Financial Post, this time saying there was no political necessity to include Canada in the trilateral trade agreement and threatening Congress to stay out of the trade negotiations.
“There is no political necessity to keep Canada in the new NAFTA deal. If we don’t make a fair deal for the U.S. after decades of abuse, Canada will be out,” Trump said on Twitter.
“Congress should not interfere w/ these negotiations or I will simply terminate NAFTA entirely & we will be far better off,” he added.
On Friday, Trump notified Congress he would be signing a revamped deal with Mexico within 90 days, regardless of whether Canada joined or not. But of course, Trump pulled his usual about-face on the issue, tweeting he didn't need Canada, anyway. “If we don’t make a fair deal for the U.S. after decades of abuse, Canada will be out,” he wrote.
The chance for a bilateral deal?
Trump already has been warned that a trade deal that just includes Mexico would have a difficult time getting approved in Congress unless Canada was included, according to Reuters. Support from Democrats would be needed to pass a purely bilateral deal, lawmakers said on Friday.
It will be interesting to see what Congress does in light of the fact that according to law, any rewrite of the trilateral trade deal must be voted on to assure its passage. But Congress has a chance here to stand up to the president and demand a trilateral deal that does include Mexico and Canada.
Additionally, according to Moshe Lander, an economics professor at Concordia University, Trump doesn’t have the authority to pull out of NAFTA “in the simple way he presents.” The U.S. must give six-months notice to both Canada and Mexico if it intends to pull out of the deal.
Lander also believes Trump would need Congressional approval to withdraw from NAFTA “Because NAFTA was enacted through an act of Congress, Congress has to undo it,” he said in a phone interview.
CTV News Canada notes, Gilles LeVasseur, a business and law professor at the University of Ottawa, said Trump's Saturday Tweets may suggest he could be nervous that he might fail to have Congressional support because Congress is pro-trade.
"Congress is more open to Canada than we expect, Republicans and Democrats," he said. "Yes they want changes, yes they want improvements, but they don't want to throw everything away."
Krzysztof Pelc, a political science professor at McGill University, pointed out Trump's threats are nothing more than bullying in an attempt to get his own way. "Congress' refusal to ratify a deal without Canada in it weakens Trump's hand, so to achieve his ends, he's attempting to bully not only Canada but the U.S. Congress as well," he wrote in an email.
While the majority of Americans, including Congress believe we are friends with Canada, and this is a friendship that goes back hundreds of years, some people also believe Trump is no friend to Canada or anyone else, unless it suits his own personal agenda.
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard was very blunt, telling reporters that Trump is not a friend to Canada. "The United States is a great friend and ally of Canada, but clearly Mr. Trump is not," he said while campaigning in Quebec City. "He is certainly not an ally and is not acting like an ally, and not just with Canada."
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