The Congressional Research Service is looking into whether or not President Trump can legally withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement on his own. Politico says it’s a question the trade world would like an answer to sooner rather than later.
Can the president withdraw without Congressional support? Politico says the answer is not clear. Congresses’ research arm says, if you look solely at international law, it looks like the Trump Administration would be able to act on its own. However, it’s quite likely that the president would have problems based on domestic law. It’s difficult to say how a court case would get resolved if affected companies pursued litigation. Trump has threatened to withdraw from the original NAFTA agreement as a way to put pressure on Congress to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement.
Administration aides have told Politico that there are no immediate plans to back out of the existing deal. One factor that might increase the possibility of legal action is if Congress signals disapproval of any attempt to withdraw from NAFTA. In the past, the Supreme Court typically says presidential power to act unilaterally is at its weakest when the White House takes action that Congress doesn’t agree with.