WASHINGTON, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Donald Trump could announce his intention to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in early 2018, if the U.S. can't reach an agreement with its two neighboring countries to revamp the 23-year-old free trade deal, according to a recent research from financial services giant Goldman Sachs.
The U.S., Canada and Mexico have held four rounds of negotiations since August. The latest ended last week with "significant conceptual gaps" between the three parties. And Trump threatened to terminate NAFTA earlier this month if the three countries could not reach a deal.
Even if Trump announces plans to withdraw, that wouldn't happen right away since NAFTA countries are required to give at least six months' notice before pulling out of the pact, the research said.
In addition, the research argued, Trump is likely to try to buy time for more negotiations by informally announcing his intent to withdraw from the pact before actually taking that step.
"A NAFTA withdrawal announcement would create near-term uncertainty but would likely have relatively modest economic effects, as the U.S.-Canada trade would be likely to be covered under a prior free trade agreement, and exports to Mexico constitute only 1.2 percent of GDP," the research said.
Business leaders across the North America, however, warned the termination of NAFTA would bring about huge costs for businesses and workers.
"A NAFTA withdrawal would eliminate at least 1.3 million jobs across the region, with a significant hit on the volume of both Mexico's and Canada's imports from the United States," the leaders of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, International Chamber of Commerce Mexico and the U.S. Council for International Business wrote in an op-ed published Monday in the U.S. media The Hill.