Mar 21, 2017

The White House plans a systematic review of all trade deals

Andrew Harnik/AP

President Trump will sign an executive order requiring a sweeping review of all U.S. trade deals, Politico reports.

It's all about NAFTA and the WTO: Most of America's 14 free-trade deals are with nations, like Isreal, that don't crack the top ten U.S. trade partners. Substantive changes to trade policy would have to come through the renegotiation of NAFTA — roughly 30% of U.S. trade is done with Canada or Mexico — and a fundamental rethink of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), a series of multilateral treaties that culminated in the launch of the World Trade Organization in 1994.

Deficits nations, unite!: It's difficult to see what incentives WTO nations would have for changing this framework, unless the Administration is able to form a coalition of trade-deficit nations, like the U.K., Australia, and (ironically) Mexico to fight trade imbalance collectively.

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