Trump Rules Out Swift Nafta Exit in Favor of Renegotiation

President Donald Trump won’t immediately terminate U.S. participation in the North American Free Trade Agreement, the White House said, after he spoke with the leaders of Mexico and Canada about ways to renegotiate the accord.

“Both conversations were pleasant and productive. President Trump agreed not to terminate Nafta at this time and the leaders agreed to proceed swiftly, according to their required internal procedures, to enable the renegotiation of the Nafta deal to the benefit of all three countries,” the White House said in a statement late Wednesday. Mexico’s peso and Canada’s dollar jumped after the White House’s announcement.

Trump on the campaign trail last year made a hawkish vow to pull out of Nafta—which he repeatedly called the “worst trade deal ever”—if the U.S. didn’t get a better deal through immediate renegotiation. His decision Wednesday marks a continuing softening of his rhetoric on trade, after he recently said he would not declare China a currency manipulator, another campaign promise.

Trump said on Twitter on Thursday morning that he received calls from the leaders of Mexico and Canada, Enrique Pena Nieto and Justin Trudeau, “asking to renegotiate NAFTA rather than terminate.” Trump said he 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!”

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