Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Trump U-Turn on Threat to Leave Trade Pact as His 100th Day Looms; President Pledges NAFTA Renegotiation Hours after Threatening to Walk Away

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Trump U-Turn on Threat to Leave Trade Pact as His 100th Day Looms; President Pledges NAFTA Renegotiation Hours after Threatening to Walk Away

Article excerpt

Byline: David Gardner US Correspondent

PRESIDENT Trump today abandoned plans to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Just hours earlier, the White House had said he was considering issuing an executive order for the US to split from the other two nations in the deal, Mexico and Canada, and go it alone.

The U-turn came despite Mr Trump's repeated campaign attacks on the trade pact, which he described as a "disaster" and a bad deal for the middle classes. As recently as last week he declared that Nafta which was negotiated by Bill Clinton was harmful to American workers and a "catastrophic trade deal for the United States". Yesterday an administration official said a full withdrawal was on the table.

However, Mr Trump has now told the Mexican president, Enrique Pena Nieto, and Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau that America will "bring Nafta up to date through renegotiation".

The announcement came before Mr Trump's 100th day in office on Saturday. The White House said: "President Trump agreed not to terminate Nafta at this time and the leaders agreed to proceed swiftly, according to their required internal procedures, to enable the renegotiation of the Nafta deal to the benefit of all three countries."

Mr Trump said he believes "the end result will make all three countries stronger and better".

Washington analysts saw the apparent change of course as a ploy intended to get a better deal from Mexico and Canada by taking them to the brink. A a withdrawal would have had serious repercussions for trade between the three nations. Mr Trump has already taken the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal put together under the Obama administration.

Although his decision to stay in Nafta does not have the populist appeal of his campaign rants against the deal, he can nevertheless say that he has fulfilled a 100-day pledge to renegotiate the pact with Mexico and Canada. …

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