Monday, May 01, 2017

Can Donald Trump unilaterally pull the United States out of NAFTA? Probably. (mark Sumner) · Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 2:15 pm

The legislative triumphs of Donald Trump’s first 100 days seem to be limited to naming post offices and scrawling his seismographic signature on repeals of environmental regulations. Everything else he’s done has come by executive order. So when it comes to yanking the United States out of the North American Free Trade Agreement, he’s not calling up Paul Ryan—he’s just pulling out a pen.

The Trump administration is considering an executive order on withdrawing the U.S. from NAFTA, according to two White House officials.

A draft order has been submitted for the final stages of review and could be unveiled late this week or early next week, the officials said. The effort, which still could change in the coming days as more officials weigh in, would indicate the administration’s intent to withdraw from the sweeping pact by triggering the timeline set forth in the deal.

Expectations are that this order is, like most everything Trump does, a bluff. Barack Obama may have drawn a line he wasn’t ready to enforce in Syria, but Donald Trump is made of red lines. “Snarl and run away” has been the story of his time in the White House.

But if Trump follows through on that executive order … could he do it? Could Trump single-handedly pull the United States out of an agreement that was initially signed by George H. W. Bush in 1992, ratified by the Senate in 1993, and finally signed into law by Bill Clinton?

The answer is … it’s complicated. But based on existing law: probably yes.


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