WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Wednesday called the negotiations between his administration and Canada to reach a trade agreement “very intense” and predicted that the US relationship with Mexico will be “very good” in the wake of the preliminary pact reached with that country last week.
Trump said that Ottawa “has walls up against us” and has been “taking advantage of the United States for many years,” along with other countries, and he added that the tri-partite NAFTA was a “foolish” and “stupid” trade deal that he was focused on either amending or scrapping altogether.
The president made his remarks to reporters upon welcoming the Kuwaiti emir, Sheikh Sabah al Ahmed al Sabah, to the White House.
“There is no political necessity to keep Canada in the new NAFTA deal. If we don’t make a fair deal for the U.S. after decades of abuse, Canada will be out,” Trump had tweeted on Saturday, adding that “Congress should not interfere with these negotiations or I will simply terminate NAFTA entirely & we will be far better off.”
Trump added on Wednesday that he had spoken with Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador about the preliminary deal to amend NAFTA, saying that they had had a very good talk about the matter.
The US leader said once again that the North American Free Trade Agreement signed in 1994 with Mexico and Canada was an “unfair” agreement.
The US and Mexico last week reached a preliminary agreement to reform NAFTA and Trump sent a letter to Congress informing lawmakers of his intention to sign a trade agreement with the US southern neighbor and leave out Canada, although he left the door open for Ottawa to join.
Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland resumed talks with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer with an eye toward reaching an agreement that would allow Canada to join the US pact with Mexico.
Freeland told reporters on Wednesday that “good faith and goodwill (exists) on both sides” in the talks, in contrast to the situation last Friday when Trump’s remarks about leaving Canada out of the agreement angered Canadian officials and the discussions ended with no agreement at that time.