A small group of U.S. lawmakers planned to offer legislation Thursday to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement in the latest sign of congressional disillusionment with free-trade deals.
The bill spearheaded by Rep. Gene Taylor, a Mississippi Democrat, would require President Barack Obama to give Mexico and Canada six months notice that the United States will no longer be part of 16-year-old trade pact.
The move comes as Obama says he wants to resolve problems blocking congressional approval of long-delayed trade deals with South Korea, Panama and Colombia. The strongest opposition to those agreements comes from Obama's fellow Democrats.
The United States also will begin talks later this month with Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Chile, Peru, Vietnam and Brunei on a regional free-trade agreement in Asia Pacific.
Taylor blames NAFTA for a loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs that he believes threatens national security, a spokesman for the conservative 10-term congressman said.
Obama criticized NAFTA during the 2008 presidential election campaign but has not followed through on threats to withdraw from the agreement if Canada and Mexico did not agree to revamp the pact's labor and environmental provisions.