President Donald Trump said Thursday that his willingness to renegotiate NAFTA came with a warning to the leaders of Mexico and Canada: that he is fully prepared to back out of the trade pact “if we do not reach a fair deal for all.”
Still, Trump sounded an optimistic tone in a pair of Thursday morning posts to Twitter.
“I received calls from the President of Mexico and the Prime Minister of Canada asking to renegotiate NAFTA rather than terminate,” Trump wrote. “I agreed, subject to the fact that if we do not reach a fair deal for all, we will then terminate NAFTA. Relationships are good-deal very possible!”
The White House’s initial announcement that Trump would not quickly initiate the removal of the US from NAFTA came Wednesday in a readout of the president’s calls with his Mexican and Canadian counterparts. Trump, who railed against multi-nation trade deals like NAFTA on the campaign trail, promised in his 100-day contract with voters to either renegotiate the agreement or remove the US from it.
Before Wednesday’s announcement, the Trump administration had been considering an executive order that would start the process of withdrawing the US from NAFTA, alarming news for pro-trade Republicans on Capitol Hill. At least four influential Republicans, among them Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) all urged the White House to pump the brakes on the order.