Trump says terminating NAFTA would yield the ‘best deal’ in renegotiations
U.S. President Donald Trump on Jan. 17 said that terminating the North American Free Trade Agreement would result in the “best deal” to revamp the 24-year-old trade pact with Canada and Mexico in favor of U.S. interests.
“A lot of people are going to be unhappy if I terminate NAFTA. A lot of people don’t realize how good it would be to terminate NAFTA because the way you’re going to make the best deal is to terminate NAFTA. But people would like to see me not do that,” he said.
The talks are viewed as pivotal for the success of the NAFTA renegotiation effort because major differences remain over aggressive U.S. demands on autos, dispute settlement and a five-year sunset clause -- proposals that some business groups have labeled “fatal.”
Trump’s comments appeared to validate concerns voiced last week by Canadian government sources that the U.S. president, now a year in office, looked increasingly likely to announce a pullout from NAFTA..
Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland added that U.S. threats to quit NAFTA had to be taken seriously.
But Trump told the Wall Street Journal last week that he would be “a little bit flexible” on the withdrawal threat.
Farm state lawmakers have been making the case to Trump in recent weeks that a NAFTA withdrawal could cause a major tariff increase on U.S. corn and other crops sold to Mexico, hurting a major political support base for Trump in the rural United States.