(WASHINGTON) — A draft executive order to withdraw the United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement is under consideration, a senior Trump administration official said on Wednesday, confirming an earlier report from Politico.
It was unclear whether the order would be enacted by President Donald Trump, who has vowed to pull out from NAFTA — a U.S., Mexico and Canada trade pact — if he cannot win better terms for America.
Trump has accused Mexico of destroying U.S. jobs, and this week he set 20 percent tariffs on imports of Canadian softwood lumber, setting a tense tone as the three countries prepared to renegotiate the 23-year-old trade pact.
Last week, Trump also called Canada’s dairy protections “unfair.”
Mexico had expected to start NAFTA renegotiations in August but the possible executive order could add urgency to the timeline.
Trump criticized Mexico extensively during his presidential campaign. The United States went from running a small trade surplus with Mexico in the early 1990s to a $63 billion deficit in 2016.