Washington, Aug 28 (IANS) US President Donald Trump said on Monday that US and Mexican negotiators reached an agreement on revising the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement.
The new pact will not be known as NAFTA, because that name “has a bad connotation,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.
The US-Mexico Trade Agreement is “a really good deal for both countries,” Trump said before telephoning Mexican President Enrique Peña in the presence of the media.
Trump said he planned to contact Canada about signing on to the new document, while making it clear that Washington’s pact with Mexico will go forward regardless.
“I’ll be terminating the existing deal and going into this deal,” Efe quoted the US President as saying in the Oval Office, calling it a “big day for trade”.
The President called it “one of the largest trade deals ever made”, adding that “they used to call it NAFTA, we are going to call it the US-Mexico Trade Agreement, and we will get rid of the name NAFTA. It has a bad connotation because the US was hurt very badly by NAFTA”.
Trump said he would speak with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “in a little while”, adding that he hoped Canada and the US could begin talks to resolve their own bilateral issues subsumed under NAFTA “almost immediately”.
Trump was accompanied on the conference call to Peña Nieto by Mexican Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo, Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray and Jesus Seade, designated to be the chief NAFTA negotiator by Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
On the US side, also participating in the call were US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Trump’s adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Trump had been pushing to renegotiate NAFTA since he became president in January 2017, having repeatedly called the trilateral pact — in force since 1994 and encompassing more than $1 trillion in annual trade — a “disaster” for the US.