President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he will not terminate the North American Free Trade Agreement as he previously said he would.
While briefing speaking to reporters on Thursday morning, President Trump explained his decision, saying that Enrique Peña Nieto, the president of Mexico, and Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, recently called him and asked him not to pull out of NAFTA.
Trump now says he will renegotiate NAFTA rather than terminating the deal entirely.
“I decided rather than terminating NAFTA, which would be a pretty big shock to the system, we will renegotiate,” Trump said. “Now, if I’m unable to make a fair deal, if I’m unable to make a fair deal for the United States, meaning a fair deal for our workers and our companies, I will terminate NAFTA. But we’re going to give negotiation a good, fair shot.”
Pushing back on criticism that he is violating a campaign pledge here, Trump said this morning that he always promised he would either terminate or renegotiate NAFTA.
This is true, and during the campaign, Trump always said that he would renegotiate the trade deal or withdraw from it, never explicitly promising to do the latter.
“I’m going to tell our NAFTA partners that I intend to immediately renegotiate the terms of that agreement to get a better deal for our workers,” Trump said in a June 2016 speech. “And I don’t mean just a little bit better, I mean a lot better. If they do not agree to a renegotiation, then I will submit notice under Article 2205 of the NAFTA agreement that America intends to withdraw from the deal.”
Trump spoke about not terminating NAFTA earlier on Thursday, saying on Twitter that he changed his mind after receiving calls from Enrique Peña Nieto and Justin Trudeau.
This came after the administration signaled on Wednesday that the president was getting ready to pull the United States out of the North American Free Trade Agreement.