WASHINGTON — Negotiating a NAFTA rewrite was tough enough for the White House. Now comes another heavy lift: getting the pact through a conflicted Congress.
President Donald Trump hailed news of a trade deal with Canada and Mexico as a major victory for U.S. factory workers and farmers — a campaign promise made and kept, he said, to rebalance economic benefits in America's favor.
But lawmakers, industry and interest groups are withholding full-throated support for the deal until some details become clearer, such as how the new regional content and minimum-wage requirements for autos would be applied and enforced.
According to veteran political observers and trade experts, there are multiple scenarios that could determine whether the North American Free Trade Agreement overhaul gets the congressional green light.
The politics of trade have been scrambled this decade, and guessing where lawmakers stand is complicated. Trump made protectionism acceptable in a Republican Party that traditionally stood for unrestrained trade, while Democrats who long howled about free trade failing to deliver benefits to the working class may find themselves torn between labour-friendly aspects of the deal and helping a president they despise achieve a major victory.