Washington, April 27: US President Dold Trump has told the leaders of Cada and Mexico that he was not immediately planning to end the North American Free Trade Agreement (fta), but warned that the US would still pull out if he could not negotiate a better deal, the White House said.
Trump, in phone calls with Cadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Wednesday, agreed to proceed swiftly to eble the renegotiation of the fta deal to the benefit of all three countries.
The White House said the phone conversations were “pleasant and productive”.
“It is my privilege to bring fta up to date through renegotiation,” Trump said in a written statement that accompanied the readout of his phone calls.
“It is an honour to deal with both President Peña Nieto and Prime Minister Trudeau, and I believe that the end result will make all three countries stronger and better,” he said.
Trump reiterated those points Thursday morning, tweeting, “if we do not reach a fair deal for all, we will then termite fta.” He also claimed that the two leaders reached out to him.
The US President railed against the trade accord as a presidential candidate and last week called it as harmful to US workers.
As he approaches his 100th day in office on Saturday, Trump and his advisers are hurriedly working to check off promises made during the campaign, one of which was to renegotiate or withdraw from fta, CNN reported.
Trump has already removed the US from another massive trade pact, the Trans Pacific Partnership, which was negotiated under former President Barack Obama.
Trump’s decision to remain in fta came the same day a senior administration official revealed the White House was considering an executive order to withdraw from the trade accord.
Many Republicans, including Setor John McCain, had cautioned Trump not to pull out from fta.
“It will devastate the economy in my state,” McCain said on Wednesday. “I hope he doesn’t do that.”
“Scrapping fta would be a disastrously bad idea. It would hurt American families at the checkout, and it would cripple American producers in the field and the office,” said Setor Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican.
During his run for office last year, Trump made his disdain for fta a central component of a populist message designed to engender support among working class Americans, said the report.
He consistently cast the agreement — which was negotiated by former President Bill Clinton, the husband of Trump’s presidential opponent Hillary Clinton — as a raw deal for the middle class. (IANS)