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NAFTA and the Trump Administration

May 2017

The Trump Administration announced this week its intention to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico. After some speculation of the administration's intent to withdraw entirely from NAFTA, the President agreed not to abandon NAFTA "at this time".

In phone calls on Wednesday with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Trump confirmed that he would first seek a renegotiation of NAFTA.

While there are no details at this time on the renegotiation, this action is in line with the immigration priorities of the Trump administration. Throughout his campaign, President Trump expressed concerns with NAFTA as well as other free trade agreements and he made clear his intent to withdraw from any agreements that he believed were not beneficial to U.S. interests.

Such actions could impact U.S. employers and foreign workers as many of these agreements provide options for professionals to work in the U.S. under visa classifications such as: TNs (Canadian or Mexican), E-3s (Australian) and H-1B1s (Singaporean or Chilean).

Pursuant to Article 2205 of NAFTA, a country can withdraw from the agreement, however it must provide six months notice to do so. Also a renegotiation of, or withdrawal from, NAFTA would impact various sectors of the U.S. economy and require Congressional review. Therefore any significant changes to NAFTA would take time, providing employers the opportunity to consider alternative visa options for workers who may be impacted by changes.

If you have any questions on recent policies, procedures and regulations, please contact an MVA Immigration Team Member.