Tweak It or Junk It? Trump's Shifting Signals on Nafta

Features Dow Jones Newswires

President Donald Trump has been consistent in calling the North American Free Trade Agreement "a disaster." But he also said at one point in February that it might need mere "tweaking," and his administration, in a letter to Congress in March, suggested it might seek only modest changes.

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White House officials now say all options are on the table. Here are the various ways Mr. Trump has signaled he would change the trade pact, or get rid of it altogether.

Jan. 26: "The U.S. has a 60 billion dollar trade deficit with Mexico. It has been a one-sided deal from the beginning of NAFTA with massive numbers...of jobs and companies lost. If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting.--Trump tweets.

Feb. 13: "We have a very outstanding trade relationship with Canada," Mr. Trump said at a joint news conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. "We will be tweaking it, doing certain things with both of our countries."

Feb. 28: "We've lost more than one-fourth of our manufacturing jobs since Nafta was approved, and we've lost 60,000 factories since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001," Mr. Trump told a joint meeting of Congress.

Late March: Trump administration in letter to Congress signals it would seek mostly modest changes to Nafta.

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April 11: "It's been a disaster from the day it was devised and we'll have some very pleasant surprises for you on that one, I can tell you," Mr. Trump told executives at the White House.

April 27: Mr. Trump said in a statement that the U.S. "agreed not to terminate Nafta at this time," after officials earlier in the day said the White House was considering moving to pull out of the pact.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 26, 2017 23:14 ET (03:14 GMT)