President Donald Trump said on Sunday, at a swearing-in ceremony for his White House advisers, that he plans to meet with the leaders of Canada and Mexico to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). He said that meetings with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Enrique Pena Nieto have been scheduled, with the key areas of focus being NAFTA, immigration and border security.
Mr Trump famously called NAFTA the worst trade deal the US has ever signed. During his presidential campaign, he promised to renegotiate the trade pact to make its terms more favourable to the US. According to the White House website, the US will move to withdraw from NAFTA if Canada and Mexico refuse to accept a renegotiation that provides a ‘fair deal’ for American workers.
David MacNaughton, Canadian ambassador to the US, said to reporters in Alberta; “I don’t think Canada is the focus at all.” In his view, the Trump administration was most concerned about US trade deficits with Mexico and China. Several trade experts have argued that changing NAFTA’s zero-tariff rate would take years of difficult negotiations, and that Mr Trump can expect his Canadian and Mexican counterparts to push equally hard on their agendas. At his speech on Sunday, President Trump said that he thinks “we are going to have a very good result… for everybody involved.“