Business

Trump to give formal notice to Congress in near future to end Nafta

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE: US President Donald Trump said on Saturday he will give formal notice to the US Congress in the near future to terminate the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta), giving six months for lawmakers to approve a new trade deal signed on Friday.

"I will be formally terminating Nafta shortly," Mr Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One on his way home from Argentina.

"Just so you understand, when I do that - if for any reason we're unable to make a deal because of Congress then Congress will have a choice" of the new deal or returning to trade rules from before 1994 when Nafta took effect, he said.

Mr Trump told reporters the trade rules before Nafta "work very well". Nafta allows any country to formally withdraw with six months' notice.

Mr Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto signed a new trade agreement on Friday known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Mr Trump's decision to set in motion a possible end to largely free trade in North America comes amid some scepticism from Democrats about the new trade deal.

The US landscape will shift significantly in January when Democrats take control of the House of Representatives, after winning mid-term elections in November.

Presumptive incoming Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi described the deal as a "work in progress" that lacks worker and environment protections. "This is not something where we have a piece of paper we can say yes or no to," she said at a news conference on Friday. - REUTERS

BUSINESS & FINANCE