President Trump plans to wait until after the midterm elections to sign a revised version of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico.
“I could sign it tomorrow,” he said during an interview with FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo on Sunday. “But I’m not happy with it.”
The decades-old trilateral trade agreement has been a frequent target of Trump, who has criticized large trade deficits the U.S. has with Mexico and Canada. He’s also blamed it for the loss of American jobs and companies. U.S. goods and services trade with Mexico totaled an estimated $616.6 billion 2017, with a trade deficit of $64.1 billion. Talks on how to revamp the 1994 treaty began almost immediately after Trump took office a year ago. He warned that if it could not be overhauled to better protect U.S. interests, Washington would pull out of the pact. Both Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto have argued against scrapping the $1.2 trillion deal.
The president’s decision comes in the midst of escalating trade tensions with Canada and Mexico. In response to a U.S. tariff of 10% on aluminum and 25% on steel, both Canada and Mexico slapped tariffs worth billions of dollars on American goods.
Although Vice President Mike Pence told reporters in April that he was ‘very hopeful” the three countries were close to a deal, Trump said he hopes to “make it more fair.”