Trump steps back from brink of killing North American trade pact

Explaining his change of heart on NAFTA Trump on Thursday said “I like them very much,” referring to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto

Explaining his change of heart on NAFTA Trump on Thursday said “I like them very much,” referring to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto

I think NAFTA has been a catastrophic trade deal for the United States, trading agreement for the United States.

Others see the threat to withdraw from the agreement as an attempt to jar Canada and Mexico into coming to the bargaining table ready to make concessions.

"I highlighted that whether or not there was a better deal to come, there were an very bad lot of jobs, an terrible lot of industries right now that have been developed under NAFTA", Trudeau said Thursday of his call with Trump.

About 14 million American jobs depend on trade with Mexico and Canada, according to the US Chamber of Commerce. He added: "Relationships are good - deal very possible!"

The Mexican government had no comment on the draft order. "They're two countries I really like", Trump told Reuters. But after their chat, the leaders agreed to improve the trade agreement to benefit the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Formal Nafta talks likely will not get started until August.

He insisted he'd been one or two days away from issuing a withdrawal notice, but had a change of heart during evening phone calls with the leaders of Canada and Mexico: "I like both of these gentlemen very much", Trump said Thursday, recapping this week's roller-coaster.

At 9:42 a.m. ET, the Canadian dollar was trading at $1.3607 to the greenback, or 73.49 USA cents, stronger than the Bank of Canada's official Wednesday close of $1.3612, or 73.46 US cents. According to an analysis by Banco BASE, it was the biggest single-day depreciation for the currency since January 18. Renegotiate it? As his Harvard-educated son-in-law, Jared Kushner, advised him, "Look, there's pluses and minuses to doing it", Kushner said he told the president, and "either way he would have ended up in a good place".

The peso recovered to 19.03 to the dollar Thursday, after the governments issued parallel statements committing to renegotiating NAFTA.

"And I'm the only one who makes the decision, believe me", Trump said.

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Trump's order would not have immediately terminated NAFTA.

Trudeau will seek to speak directly to Trump whenever the trade discussions escalate to that level.

US media reported on Wednesday that he was likely to give formal notice of pulling the United States out of NAFTA - and then came the White House announcement that the USA would renegotiate the agreement after all.

Canadian officials have so far taken a largely restrained attitude to Trump's harsh language on NAFTA, describing it as a negotiating tactic ahead of the talks. "They like Trump, but I like them, and I'm going to help them".

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 United States from NAFTA.

Canadian government officials say those cases won't derail their charm-and-diplomacy approach of dealing with the US administration. You might just get a change of heart. Mexican foreign minister Luis Videgaray slammed Trump's plans for a border wall between the United States and Mexico as "a hostile act" on Tuesday and insisted yet again, contrary to Trump's campaign promises, that Mexico would not pay for the wall.

"They (Liberals) clearly have worked to build relationships with counterparts in the USA but I think they need to be more vigorous in their defence of Canadian industries", said Brown. "If I'm unable to make a fair deal for the United States".

In 1993 - the last full year before NAFTA - the US had a $1.6 billion trade surplus with Mexico.

Guajardo warned that "bullying tactics" could potentially sour Mexico on a relationship that's worth some $583.6 billion in annual bilateral trade.

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