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Trump to renegotiate rather than terminate NAFTA

US President Donald Trump has told the leaders of Mexico and Canada that he will not immediately move to abandon the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) pact, and that he currently favours talks to renegotiate it.

In a statement on Twitter today (27 April), Trump said he had received calls from President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada asking to renegotiate NAFTA rather than put an end to it.

He said he had agreed, "subject to the fact that if we do not reach a fair deal for all, we will then terminate NAFTA. Relationships are good – deal very possible."

The announcement, which followed a statement issued by The White House last night, was made only hours after an administration official said Trump was likely to sign an order that would begin the process of pulling the US out of the deal.

A statement from the President yesterday said: "It is my privilege to bring NAFTA up-to-date through renegotiation. I believe that the end result will make all three countries stronger and better."

The NAFTA trade pact between the US, Canada and Mexico came into force on 1 January 1994 and created one of the world's largest free trade zones by reducing or eliminating tariffs on most products.

In a meeting last week in Wisconsin to highlight the importance of US manufacturing, Trump said of NAFTA: "It's been very, very bad for our companies and for our workers, and we're going to make some very big changes, or we are going to get rid of NAFTA once and for all."

Last week, Trump bolstered his pledge to "buy American and hire American" with the signing of an executive order aimed at promoting American industry and protecting it from "unfair competition".

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