President Trump Announces Decision to Renegotiate NAFTA With Mexico and Canada
- by Robert Schaulis
WASHINGTON, DC – After reports circulated throughout the week suggesting that President Trump would withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the White House clarified this Thursday that it would remain in the trade agreement.
"We agree with the President’s determination not to immediately withdraw from NAFTA," said Western Growers President and CEO Tom Nassif, in a statement issued Thursday. "The benefits of this agreement have not been uniformly felt in the United States, depending on region of the country or sector of the economy, and we agree that the solution is to better NAFTA’s terms for American companies, including the fresh produce industry."
Though the announcement represents a significant shift from the President’s tone on the campaign trail—at which time, he called NAFTA “a total disaster” and “one of the worst deals ever,” according to the Chicago Tribune—Trump did leave the door open to drop NAFTA at a later date.
And while the President reassured Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peńa Nieto that the United States would remain committed to the pact in phone calls a series of phone calls late Wednesday, according to the Chicago Tribune, Trump has not unequivocally ruled out the agreements dissolution.
“I received calls from the President of Mexico and the Prime Minister of Canada asking to renegotiate NAFTA rather than terminate. I agree…subject to the fact that if we do not reach a fair deal for all, we will then terminate NAFTA,” Trump tweeted Thursday morning.
In a conversation with press in the Oval Office later that day, on the occasion of a meeting with Argentinian President Mauricio Macri, the President made similar remarks.
"I was all set to terminate," Trump said. "I looked forward to terminating. I was going to do it…I decided rather than terminating NAFTA, which would be a pretty big, you know, shock to the system, we will renegotiate…Now, if I'm unable to make a fair deal, if I'm unable to make a fair deal for the United States, meaning a fair deal for our workers and our companies, I will terminate NAFTA. But we're going to give renegotiation a good, strong shot.”
According to Chicago Tribune, U.S law requires the nation’s trade representative to give a formal 90-day notice to Congress before negotiations can take place. If President Trump chooses to withdraw from NAFTA, the process would require a six-month notification process, after which Canada and Mexico could impose higher tariffs on U.S. imports, which could put the United States at a disadvantage given trade rules under the World Trade Organization.
"To facilitate enhanced competition for U.S. fruit and vegetable farmers, we ask the Trump Administration to work with our North American trading partners to further work on science-based standards, harmonize sanitary and phytosanitary standards, and eliminate other non-tariff trade barriers," added Nassif. "We look forward to participating in the effort to modernize NAFTA for both agriculture and the broader American economy."
AndNowUKnow will continue to report on the situation as it develops