For anyone concerned about the future of NAFTA, the massive free trade agreement that President Trump has long railed against, last week was a roller coaster.
Last Wednesday, Reuters reported that Canadian government officials were “convinced” that the Trump administration would soon announce its withdrawal from NAFTA.
That same day, Canada also filed an official complaint against the US with the World Trade Organization over the way it handles border taxes — a move that analysts say is bound to inflame existing tensions over NAFTA renegotiations, which are set to begin again on January 23.
Mexico also turned up the pressure last Wednesday, with government officials warning that the country would leave the NAFTA negotiating table altogether if the US tries to
withdraw from the agreement.
Just a day later, during an interview with the Wall Street Journal last Thursday, Trump made some surprising comments that indicated the US might not be on the verge of pulling out of the agreement after all.
The president said he thought an improved version of NAFTA could serve as a way to force Mexico to pay for a US-Mexico border wall. Trump also said “there’s no rush” to agree to a new version of NAFTA because Mexico has presidential elections coming up in 2018, which could complicate the negotiation process.
“I feel that we have a chance of making a reasonable deal,” he said.