US will not immediately exit NAFTA, Trump tells Canada, Mexico
WASHINGTON - Agence France-Presse
AP photoPresident Donald Trump on April 26 told the leaders of NAFTA partners Canada and Mexico that the United States will not immediately move to exit the regional free trade agreement.
The announcement followed U.S. media reports that Trump was considering giving formal notice of pulling the United States out of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
In phone calls to Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Trump “agreed not to terminate NAFTA at this time,” the White House said in a statement.
It added that “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.”
Trump campaigned for president in 2016 on a platform that included renegotiating or abandoning the trade agreement, which he claimed was “the worst trade deal maybe ever signed anywhere” in a September debate with Hillary Clinton.
NAFTA was established January 1, 1994 under then-president Bill Clinton. It removes tariffs and allows a free flow of goods between the three partners.
Trump has repeatedly derided NAFTA as a “disaster” and claimed the deal resulted in millions of lost U.S. industrial jobs, mostly to Mexico.
“It is my privilege to bring NAFTA up to date through renegotiation,” Trump said, according to the White House statement. “It is an honor to deal with both President Pena Nieto and Prime Minister Trudeau, and I believe that the end result will make all three countries stronger and better.”
Both conversations were “pleasant and productive,” the statement said.
The U.S. trade deficit in goods and services last year with Mexico was $62 billion, but with Canada the U.S. had a surplus of $8 billion.