Trump NAFTA com­ments re­lieve pact sup­port­ers

The Western Star - - CANADA -

A string of calm­ing com­ments from Don­ald Trump about NAFTA has trade pro­po­nents across the con­ti­nent breath­ing some re­lief that the U.S. president’s trig­ger fin­ger may not be about to blow up the deal af­ter all.

Trump made about a half­dozen such re­marks to The Wall Street Jour­nal, cool­ing red-hot spec­u­la­tion in Canada fol­low­ing news re­ports that said Trump might be plan­ning to is­sue a no­tice of with­drawal from NAFTA some­time af­ter this month’s round of bar­gain­ing.

A tran­script of the in­ter­view shows Trump say­ing of the ne­go­ti­a­tions: “We’re mov­ing along nicely,’’ “There’s no rush,’’ “I’m leav­ing it a lit­tle flex­i­ble,’’ “We have a chance of mak­ing a rea­son­able deal,’’ “We’ve made a lot of head­way.’’

Trump also said a new NAFTA would pro­vide ben­e­fits that pay for his pro­posed bor­der wall with Mex­ico. He added that he un­der­stands it’s tough for Mex­ico to deal with these ne­go­ti­a­tions dur­ing its cur­rent elec­tion.

Yes, he re­peated his threat to can­cel the agree­ment if he can’t get a bet­ter deal. Ob­servers still view a U.S. with­drawal no­tice as a po­ten­tial bar­gain­ing ploy at some point. But his com­ments were viewed as over­whelm­ingly point­ing against an im­mi­nent pull­out.

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