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Trump Says Separate Trade Pacts With Canada, Mexico Could Replace Nafta

Speaking alongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, President Trump on Wednesday opened the door to separate trade deals with Canada and Mexico to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta), reports the Wall Street Journal (Oct. 11, Vieira, Mauidin). He also repeated his warnings that the United States could withdraw from the 23-year-old trade pact. "I think Justin understands this, if we can't make a deal, it will be terminated and that will be fine," Trump remarked, underscoring that the plan for now is to "renegotiate" the agreement. Trudeau stated publicly after the meeting that he was convinced Trump will work "in good faith" to give Nafta a makeover that benefits all three nations. He commented, "My optimism is based on how good Nafta has been for millions of citizens in Canada, the U.S., and Mexico, and I know there are opportunities to significantly improve this trade deal that will benefit citizens right across the U.S.

According to the Washington Post (Oct. 12, Mufson), Trump and Trudeau met as the fourth round of Nafta negotiations started just outside of Washington, D.C., with trade experts, business leaders, labor representatives, and legislators from all three countries expressing concern of a possible breakdown in the talks. "The sense of urgency about the talks has been building after earlier rounds in Mexico City and Ottawa," notes the Post. Earlier this week, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue said it was time to "ring the alarm bells," stating that abandoning the pact would pose an "existential threat" to the continent's national and economic security.