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Trump will renegotiate NAFTA – for now

(NationalSentinel) Trade: As he promised often on the campaign trail, President Donald J. Trump is remaining focused on either dismantling or renegotiating previous “free trade” deals that he believes have harmed American workers and industry.

One of them is the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Negotiated by the Clinton White House, the deal was supposed to reduce most trade barriers between signatories – the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

And did it. Shortly thereafter, a massive shift of jobs and industry out of the U.S. and into Mexico, mostly, began to take place. After two decades, millions of U.S. jobs have disappeared.

That tide may soon turn. On Wednesday, the Trump administration announced it would enter into a renegotiation of NAFTA with the other two signatories, as Fox News reported:

President Trump and the leaders of Mexico and Canada agreed Wednesday to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the White House said – though Trump warned Thursday he’d be willing to “terminate” the pact if they can’t strike a “fair deal.”  

“It is my privilege to bring NAFTA up to date through renegotiation,” Trump said in a statement late Wednesday. “It is an honor to deal with both [Mexican] President [Enrique] Peña Nieto and [Canadian] Prime Minister [Justin] Trudeau, and I believe that the end result will make all three countries stronger and better.”

The White House added that Trump “agreed not to terminate NAFTA at this time” and that all three leaders “”agreed to proceed swiftly, according to their required internal procedures, to enable the renegotiation” of the trade deal to “the benefit of all three countries.” 

However, Trump tweeted early Thursday that his cooperation is contingent on a fair deal being reached.

“I received calls from the President of Mexico and the Prime Minister of Canada asking to renegotiate NAFTA rather than terminate. I agreed,” he tweeted. “… subject to the fact that if we do not reach a fair deal for all, we will then terminate NAFTA. Relationships are good-deal very possible!”

In a statement, Mexico acknowledged that renegotiation would happen.

“The leaders agreed on the convenience of maintaining the North American Free Trade Agreement and working together with Canada to carry out a successful renegotiation for the benefit of all three countries,” the statement read.

One source told Fox News the Trump administration had already drafted a letter stating that the United States would be pulling out of the agreement. “The document would have given the leaders of Canada and Mexico six months’ notice of the administration’s intention to exit from the agreement,” Fox News reported.

Earlier this week the Trump administration said it planned to put heavy tariffs on Canadian softwood. Also, Trump has been railing against changes in pricing for Canadian milk products he says is harming the U.S. dairy industry.

“I am very upset with NAFTA. I think NAFTA has been a catastrophic trade deal for the United States, trading agreement for the United States. It hurts us with Canada, and it hurts us with Mexico,” he told The Associated Press in an interview last week.

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