White House readies order to quit Nafta: Administration official

But Trump could also simply launch the U.S. into renegotiations of the trade pact with Canada and Mexico rather than making a bold move declaring the US' intent to withdraw.

Reuters reported soybeans, wheat and corn declined on Wednesday, with some blaming the downfall on jitters over the report that the White House is considering pulling out of NAFTA.

Froman said the negotiations petered out after the election, when "some on the Canadian side, whether it was the government or whether it was the industry", preferred to take their chances with Trump.

Trump made the debate over free trade one of the central topics of his campaign.

"President Trump agreed not to terminate NAFTA at this time and the leaders agreed to proceed swiftly, according to their required internal procedures, to enable the renegotiation of the NAFTA deal to the benefit of all three countries", said the White House.

"It is an honor to deal with both President Peña Nieto and Prime Minister Trudeau", the statement quoted Mr. Trump as saying, "and I believe that the end result will make all three countries stronger and better".

His administration moved Monday to impose a hefty tariff on softwood lumber from Canada, accusing the Canadians of unfairly subsiding lumber prices. The US president said on Twitter that Canada had made business for the dairy farmers in Wisconsin and other border states very hard.

"This isn't an easy fix", said Derek Nighbor, chief executive officer of the Forest Products Association of Canada.

A long road remains after Donald Trump fired the starting pistol in yet another softwood lumber fight, one of several trade disputes the US and Canada are set to spend years sorting out. The law Congress passed to enact the trade pact might remain in place, forcing Trump to wrangle with lawmakers and raising questions about the president's authority to raise tariffs on Mexican and Canadian imports.

Trump can withdraw from NAFTA - but he has to give six months' notice.

"Think about it: If NAFTA were functioning properly, you wouldn't be having these kinds of very prickly, very unfortunate, developments back to back".

"More broadly in terms of our approach to the United States, I would describe it as polite, but firm", Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Wednesday in a conference call from Berlin, where she was attending G20 meetings. "This decision will cost America's farmers and ranchers markets that we will never recover", he said.

Another senior White House official declined to comment on "rumors" of specific actions.

Interviews with Capitol Hill staffers Wednesday afternoon showed Democrats are increasingly frustrated with how issues like NAFTA spring forward from the administration, even as Congress is attempting to address how to fund the government, resurrect a health care overhaul and rewrite the tax code. That person also spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the administration's thinking.

The letter spelled out few details and stuck with broad principles. Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain said the withdrawal would have "the worst possible impact" on his state.

"Withdrawing from (hash) NAFTA would be a disaster for (hash) Arizona jobs & economy", he tweeted.

  • Leroy Wright