Ratifying new NAFTA may not be be so easy

By Yves Faguy April 20, 201820 April 2018

Ratifying new NAFTA may not be be so easy

Progress is being made, reportedly, on the renegotiation of NAFTA, as trade representatives appear to be closing in on a deal on new auto rules of origin.

But here's something to worry about. Anna Palmer at Politico reports on growing doubts in Washington about Congress’ ability to ratify a new NAFTA deal in an midterm election year:

The Trump administration has done absolutely nothing to prepare the Hill for a bruising trade vote in the middle of an election year, according to key aides involved. GOP leadership is well aware of the void. When the Trans-Pacific Partnership cleared the Capitol, it benefited from a multi-year, multi-million dollar lobbying campaign.

One possible tactic apparently under consideration is to apply pressure by withdrawing from the current  agreement before a new deal is finalized:

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is said to have advocated for such an approach, according to current and former administration officials.

The strategy, which has been under consideration for months, figures that Congress may not act on the new agreement, preferring the status quo instead.

[…]

“As someone who counts votes that would not be a totally shocking scenario,” said one source who has advised Lighthizer on NAFTA. “If you actually want to get the vote done and you want to pass the damn agreement then you need to create the scenario of either nothing or something different.”

What could possibly go wrong?

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