Amid Trump's NAFTA Confusion, Demands for Trade Deal That Puts Workers, Environment Over Corporate Profits.
Some observers, including lawmakers and journalists, were left scratching their heads on Monday after President Donald Trump suggested he was ditching the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and switching to a bilateral U.S.-Mexico trade deal, while advocacy groups renewed their demand that any new trade deal must prioritize the needs of people and the environment over corporate profits.
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Speaking from the Oval Office, where put Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on speaker phone, Trump said, “they used to call it NAFTA. We’re going to call it the United States-Mexico Trade Agreement, and we’ll get rid of the name NAFTA. It has a bad connotation because the United States was hurt very badly by NAFTA for many years. And now it’s a really good deal for both countries, and we look very much forward to it.”
A press statement from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative issued Monday refers to “NAFTA.”
The New York Times also reported:
Trump said, “We will see whether or not we decide to put up Canada or just do a separate deal with Canada, if they want to make the deal.” However, he added later that “one way or the other, we have a deal with Canada.”
Peña Nieto stressed in the phone call his hopes that it would be “an agreement the way we proposed it from the initiation of this renegotiating process, a tripartite”—an understanding confirmed by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office on Monday.
Toronto Star correspondent Daniel Dale reacted to the developments on Twitter, writing of Trump: “It is very clear that he does not know what he’s talking about and that he’s making this up as he goes.”
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