There is much uncertainty and speculation surrounding President-Elect Trump’s nascent foreign and trade policies, particularly given his domestic-focused and trade skeptical campaign statements. Though President-Elect Trump has not made specific comments about regional trade deals other than the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), his emphasis on returning jobs to the United States could impact hemispheric relations.
CNN recently reported it had obtained a copy of a Trump Transition Memorandum that starts to define the President-Elect’s trade policy. Notably, the leaked document suggests that within the first 100 days of the new Administration, President-Elect Trump could order the Commerce Department and International Trade Commission to begin a study of possible ramifications of withdrawing from NAFTA, as well as required legislative actions. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative reportedly would be tasked with notifying Mexico and Canada that the United States intends to propose some amendments to the agreement.
President-Elect Trump has previously said Mexico’s value-added tax is one area of concern. Separately, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) sent a letter to President-Elect Trump calling on the next Administration to address NAFTA’s investor-state dispute settlement provision, certain rules of origin affecting the US auto workers and the steel industry, and other regulations that cut across all industries. The Governments of Canada and Mexico have already indicated they would be willing to discuss NAFTA and how it could be improved. By Day 200, CNN reports the leaked document notes President-Elect Trump expects to consider formally withdrawing from NAFTA and continuing to pursue bilateral trade agreements.