Trump considers action on NAFTA ahead of 100-day mark

Nick Mcbride
April 27, 2017

Congressman Chris Collins, R-Clarence, along with other federal legislators, thanked President Trump on Wednesday for his stance regarding the dairy industry's trade issue with Canada. The verdict? Yes, Trump probably can unilaterally withdraw the USA from the agreement under the Trade Act of 1974 but the lawsuits challenging that authority could get messy.

It comes days after the United States imposed a new tariff on softwood lumber coming from Canada.

"Them's fightin' words - that's Canadian for (expletive deleted)", Colbert deadpanned late Tuesday. Naomi Rao, whom the president has put in charge of his plan to strip out two regulations for every new one, and weed out all the worst ones, has been hailed by free-market conservatives as a "superlative" choice, and by Democrats as an "anti-government extremist". "Canada is ready to come to the table at any time", said Alex Lawrence, a spokesman for Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland.

"It's been frustratingly slow, " Ross said earlier this month, of Congress. "It hurts us with Canada, and it hurts us with Mexico", he said.

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"That's a really important message to take to the United States. they need us and they ought to treat us accordingly".

Trump had threatened to renegotiate the NAFTA pact during the election campaign as he said it had destroyed American jobs, although he has backed off tough action in trade since taking office in January."There is some discussion", said another source with direct knowledge of the discussions.

Mr Ross said the twin disputes underline the problems with the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) linking the United States with Canada and Mexico, which Mr Trump has vowed to renegotiate.

The vast majority of Canada's softwood operators - small and medium-sized businesses - will also be forced to pay the duties retroactively on any shipments made to the USA since February 1.

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Democratic Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken of Minnesota celebrated the lumber tariffs, calling them "welcome relief" for workers and rural communities in their state.

Further, American producers, who can not produce enough lumber to meet domestic consumption, continue to export lumber to countries like China because it is more profitable to sell overseas then at home in some circumstances.

Mr Trump also called a new Canadian tariff regime affecting U.S. dairy products a "disgrace".

"We're all for modernizing NAFTA, but we can not support efforts that would undermine the livelihoods of America's 60,000 pork producers", Maschhoff said.

One senior administration official stressed that this is something Trump has "always been considering" and while the White House is now considering an executive order, the official stressed a lot could change in the coming days.

Not that bad, according to the White House readout of the Trump-Trudeau phone call.

"While Trump's other initiatives are falling through, trade is something he can get support from Democrats on".

Allan Golombek is a Senior Director at the White House Writers Group.

Other reports by VgToday

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