US President Donald Trump repeats warning to pull the United States out of NAFTA, again

January 18, 2018 1:23 am
President speaks during an interview with Reuters at the White House in Washington, DC, US, on January 17, 2018. (Photo by Reuters)
US President Donald Trump has repeated a threat to pull the out of a trade agreement with Canada and Mexico.
In a Wednesday interview with Reuters, Trump once again threatened to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), arguing that the move would serve US trade interests.
Trump’s comments came less than a week before negotiators from the three countries party to NAFTA are scheduled to meet in the Canadian city of Montreal for the sixth of the seven scheduled rounds to renegotiate the trade pact, as requested by Trump’s White House.
“We’re renegotiating NAFTA now. We’ll see what happens. I may terminate NAFTA,” Trump said in the interview.
The US president has repeated the threat many times over since his campaigning days for the presidency, in what is generally seen as an attempt to enhance America’s bargaining power at the negotiations.
“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.
NAFTA was finalized by the US, Canada, and Mexico back in 1994. None of the parties can “terminate” the multilateral deal; they can unilaterally “terminate” their participation.
The incumbent US president has called NAFTA the “single worst trade deal ever approved” by the US and claimed that it has led to the outsourcing of thousands of jobs from the US to Mexico and China.
US, Canadian, and Mexican officials hold a press conference at the conclusion of the fourth round of negotiations for a new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), at the General Services Administration headquarters, in Washington, DC, on October 17, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
The three parties to NAFTA agreed in July last year to hold seven rounds of talks to renegotiate the deal; however, little progress has been made on key issues. The penultimate round of the NAFTA negotiations is scheduled to be held in the Canadian city of Montreal between January 23 and 28.
Mexico has previously called on the US to uphold the 24-year-old trade deal, arguing that the suspension of such an agreement would have consequences for all the parties involved.
Sensing that the US may proceed to withdraw, Canada has launched a wide-ranging attack on US trade practices, calling on the World Trade Organization to examine the use of duties in the US.
Trump threatened in the buildup to the November 8, 2016 presidential election that he would withdraw the US from the pact if he could not secure what he called better terms for US workers and industries.
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