Trump steps back from brink of killing North American trade pact

Trump steps back from brink of killing North American trade pact

It was under an executive order signed by Trump on January 23 that the United States pulled out of the sweeping Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

Trump signaled his administration could be opening trade talks with Canadian officials soon over lumber, timber and energy practices, in addition to dairy issues. But, he added, "If I'm unable to make a fair deal. for our workers and our companies, we will terminate NAFTA". In order to renegotiate the trade deal, he must notify Congress.

"I agreed, subject to the fact that if we do not reach a fair deal for all, we will then terminate NAFTA".

President Donald Trump says phone conversations Wednesday with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau persuaded him not to imminently withdraw the United States from their countries' three-way trade pact.

Answering a reporter's question Thursday about the possible timeframe for NAFTA talks, Trump said: "It'll start very soon".

Trudeau says the two agreed instead they could sit down and work on ways to make the deal better, a renegotiation process similar to what's been done in the past. Instead, it would have initiated a six-month notice period after which the US could have withdrawn or not withdrawn.

The Mexican and Canadian currencies maintained their rebound early on Thursday after Trump's latest comments.

NAFTA TRADE HAVOC * A disruption in trade between the three NAFTA partnerscould wreak havoc in the auto sector and other industries, hitting profits at companies that have benefited from zero-leveltariffs and Mexico's relatively low labor costs.

Exiting NAFTA would be a major break from decades of US trade policy, and it's unclear whether the order would been intended as a serious threat to leave the pact or simply an effort to put the country's neighbors on notice that Trump intends to rewrite the rules of North American trade.

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As a candidate, Trump frequently called NAFTA a "disaster" and vowed to renegotiate its terms or scuttle it altogether.

Trudeau refused to rule out retaliatory measures in response to the US moves, but he said both he and Trump prefer to keep relations "positive and co-operative".

Dias, who believes NAFTA is a "flawed deal", says Canadians should be eager to renegotiate the accord, and the government must candidly start pushing the agenda.

Analysts said renegotiating NAFTA is the lesser evil for Trump.

About 14 million American jobs depend on trade with Mexico and Canada, according to the US Chamber of Commerce. While Trump has pivoted on other issues, trade is the issue where he has maintained a consistent position.

The New York Times recently quoted an unnamed senior administration official saying that Trump is likely to sign an executive action that would begin the process of withdrawing the U.S. from NAFTA. Mexican exports to the U.S. increased sevenfold between 1993 and 2016, but less than threefold to Canada.

On Tuesday, the Trump administration slapped tariffs on Canadian lumber for what it concluded is the country's "dumping" of softwood lumber in the US markets at reduced prices that are unfair to American companies.

It also states NAFTA is responsible for "waves" of illegal immigration and the closure of "tens of thousands of factories and manufacturing establishments" in the U.S. During the presidential campaign he accused Mexico of sending rapists and criminals into the United States, and as president plans a U.S. -Mexico border wall. When you're talking about $3 billion in soybean exports a year, any threats to withdraw from agreements and walk away from markets makes farmers extremely nervous.

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