President Donald Trump said on Wednesday the United States may hammer out a trade deal with Mexico, and then do a separate one with Canada later, sowing fresh doubts about the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
“We have had very good sessions with Mexico and with the new president of Mexico, who won overwhelmingly, and we’re doing very well on our trade agreement,” Trump said to reporters ahead of a meeting of his cabinet at the White House.
“So we’ll see what happens. We may do a deal separately with Mexico and we’ll negotiate with Canada at a later time. But we’re having very good discussions with Mexico.”
Trump pledged during his election campaign to revamp the 24-year-old NAFTA trade deal between the United States, Canada and Mexico, which he has called a disaster for the United States.
However, the negotiations that started last August have moved slowly. They were initially scheduled to finish by the end of 2017, but the deadline has been extended several times as Canada and Mexico struggle to accommodate U.S. demands.
Mexico’s President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has said he wants a good relationship with the United States and that his transition team will participate in future NAFTA talks. He met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week.
Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said on Wednesday that he would travel to Washington for bilateral trade talks on July 26 and would later meet with Canadian officials.
Guajardo, Mexico’s top trade official, told reporters that the three countries were “resuming negotiations” on NAFTA.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, asked whether trilateral talks and separate Canadian talks were off the table, said: “We’re continuing both of those tracks. We see a lot of progress on the conversations with Mexico, and if we could make a bilateral deal with them, we’re certainly very happy to do that. But, again, we’re continuing both conversations, both tracks.”
At the cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Pompeo said he hoped there would be progress on trade talks soon.
“We made clear to them (Mexico) that the migration issue must be resolved and we need to have strong borders,” he said about last week’s visit.
“We talked to them about trade. There will be more, I think, in the coming days to talk about – the progress we’re making on trying to resolve the issues on NAFTA. I’m very hopeful there.”
Lopez Obrador has said he wants NAFTA maintained.
Trump is taking a more aggressive, protectionist posture on trade than his recent predecessors, which has sparked retaliatory measures from countries around the world.
The United States launched World Trade Organization dispute actions against its North American neighbors on Monday, as well as China, the European Union and Turkey, to challenge tariffs the countries put in place following U.S. duties on steel and aluminum.
Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Writing by by Lisa Lambert and David Lawder; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Lisa Shumaker
Virginia Democrats are so fired up that the party chair had to scold them: ‘Sit down — be quiet’
Democrats in Virginia are fired up as they gathered in Richmond for their annual gala dinner.
Political analysts believe the Democratic Party of Virginia has a good chance to win control of the state legislature in 2019's election, before setting their sights on the Commonwealth continuing its recent trend of voting Democratic in presidential elections.
Patrick Wilson, a political reporter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, attended the event.
He reported that Democrats were so "noisy" that it was hard to hear the speakers, which include presidential candidates Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
‘Everyone knows what to expect’ at Trump’s Amway Center re-election kickoff
Donald Trump considers himself a legendary salesman, but can he really sell America on giving him four more drama-filled years at the White House?
Tuesday, he'll make his big pitch.
The 2020 reelection kickoff rally is being held in Orlando, Florida and campaign operations chief Michael Glassner says the "historic" event "has already generated tens of thousands of ticketing requests."
There's little mystery about how the night will go down.
Expect Trump, the self-promoting hero of his ghost-written book "The Art of the Deal," to claim the US economy is richer, the military stronger, and the country more respected than ever in history.
Florida man’s own family blasts him after he was arrested for racist threats: ‘This isn’t how we were raised’
After a Florida man was arrested for trying to start a race war, a member of his own family slammed his values.
"A Florida man’s social media posts that threatened violence against African-Americans, Jews and homosexuals and that urged his followers to start a race war netted him a $1 million bond," the Miami Herald reported Saturday. "And then there’s another $100,000 bond he would have to pay to get out of Lee County Jail because of a weapons charge."
Joshua Leff, 40, is being held in the Lee County Jail.