Trump says was 'psyched to terminate NAFTA' but reconsidered

Thu Apr 27, 2017 11:22pm EDT
 
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By Jeff Mason and David Lawder

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump told Reuters on Thursday that he was "psyched" to terminate the NAFTA trade deal with Canada and Mexico, but changed his mind after their leaders asked for it to be renegotiated instead.

Trump said in an interview with Reuters that he will not hesitate to change course again and pull the plug on the North American Free Trade Agreement if the negotiations become "unserious."

His comments came at the end of a long 24 hours during which Ottawa and Mexico City were whipsawed over the Trump administration's intentions over the 23-year-old trade pact.

"You know I was really ready and psyched to terminate NAFTA," Trump said.

He decided that it would be better to terminate the trade deal after hearing about Wisconsin farmers' struggles with new Canadian dairy rules that were shutting out their milk protein exports.

"You saw that, you wrote about it," Trump said. "And I said I’ve had it. I’ve had it."

But after administration officials said a withdrawal order was being prepared, Trump said he received phone calls from Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking to renegotiate the pact.

"I’m not looking to hurt Canada and I’m not looking to hurt Mexico. They’re two countries I really like," Trump said. "So they asked to renegotiate, and I said yes."   Continued...

 
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (L) walks down the West Wing colonnade with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 13, 2017.  REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque