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Trump warns lawmakers he’s prepared for NAFTA withdrawal

President Donald Trump told Republican senators this week that he’s ready to make good on promises to kick off the U.S.’s withdrawal from the North American Free Trade Agreement if Mexico and Canada aren’t willing to renegotiate the deal.

During a private lunch with senators, Trump reportedly said he is ready to kick off the six-month process to shut NAFTA down.

Some lawmakers familiar with the conversation are reportedly worried about what the president’s plan will mean for U.S. agriculture.

As reported by The Hill:

Several senators expressed concerns about the strategy after the meeting, particularly those with significant agriculture interests in their states.

In response, Trump asked senators to stay with him as he works toward getting a better agreement.

“The president said, ‘Stick with me, he’s working on a good deal,’” said Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.). “He said he would not let farmers down.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said he thinks Trump is trying to give the United States a better chance to improve the agreement.

“I think the president is using all the leverage he can in public discussion to hopefully bring about changes that would have to take place,” Grassley said.

“He’s positioning himself for the strongest position that he can.”

Some lawmakers have expressed worries over the strategy, however.

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, told Inside U.S. Trade that even starting a withdrawal would be bad for U.S. agriculture.

If Trump starts the NAFTA withdrawal process, Congress is likely to act quickly to prop up the trade treaty.

Already, lobbyists are flooding Washington to ask lawmakers top preserve NAFTA.

The New York Times reported:

Automakers, retailers and other business leaders stormed Capitol Hill on Tuesday in an extraordinary show of force against a Republican president they fear will cripple or kill the North American Free Trade Agreement, an outcome business leaders said could devastate their profits and harm the United States’ ability to compete in a global market.

More than 130 representatives from an array of industries met with senators on Tuesday to ratchet up pressure on lawmakers — many of whose constituents work for companies dependent on Nafta — to keep the deal intact.

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