President Trump has formally notified Congress that renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will commence this fall. While this fulfills one of Trump’s major campaign promises, it does come with risks. Let's say, for a moment, that the United States gets a bad deal or ultimately walks away from the agreement altogether — then what? One thing is for sure: China would be thrilled.

NAFTA was negotiated in large part to create an integrated North American economy that could compete with China. Recognizing the flood of cheap goods coming from Asia, policymakers on both sides of the aisle understood the need in the early 1990s to take decisive action. The answer was a trade agreement between Canada, Mexico, and the United States that would harness the strengths of all three economies to make U.S. goods more competitive.

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