Kudlow: U.S. Won’t Withdraw from NAFTA — Won’t Commit on Future of Trade Agreement

Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow said that despite the dust-up between President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the United States wouldn’t immediately withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Kudlow explained to host Margaret Brennan that negotiations were still underway, and therefore, he could not commit to the future of the agreement.

Partial transcript as follows:

BRENNAN: Did you believe he was going to step away from those retaliatory tariffs? Had he promised you privately that that is what was going to happen?

KUDLOW: Who?

BRENNAN: Trudeau.

KUDLOW: Well…

BRENNAN: You are saying he broke his word, that he publicly came out and said things.

KUDLOW: Let me say, in the bilateral between President Trump and Prime Minister Trudeau, which was — I was in that room. It was a very successful, calm, friendly, respectful bilateral.

And we made great progress in moving towards a deal between the U.S. and Canada and perhaps NAFTA as a whole. It was very successful. That is another reason why I think Trudeau betrayed Trump and the G7.

I mean, look, they put together this good consensus. The Western allies were together. It was peaceful. They were good citizens. It was all in good faith.

What is not in good faith is, when you leave there and you fly out of there, and the host Canadian prime minister starts taking whacks at you, potshots at you on the eve of this Korean summit.

President Trump had no alternative, in my opinion, but to express his opinion that he is going to pull out. This — look…

BRENNAN: To pull out? To pull out of?

KUDLOW: To pull out of the communique. That’s what he said.

BRENNAN: But when it comes to NAFTA, which you said there was progress on, you have said publicly the president is not going to pull out of NAFTA.

KUDLOW: That is correct.

BRENNAN: But then the president said he may broker a side bilateral agreement with Canada and Mexico.

KUDLOW: That is correct. That is correct.

BRENNAN: How do you do both things at once? How is that not withdrawing from NAFTA?

KUDLOW: Oh, no, no, no, it’s — we won’t withdraw from NAFTA. We are heavy into negotiations.

And the negotiation will either be bilateral or they will be trilateral, OK, one way or the other.

BRENNAN: So, despite this blow-up, you still think you can get a trade deal with Canada?

KUDLOW: I don’t — well, I don’t know that, Margaret.

I want to say I don’t know, because I think, again, Trudeau’s very unfortunate statements, his betrayal — he betrayed Trump. Can I ask, he betrayed the whole G7.

BRENNAN: But how?

KUDLOW: … by attacking right after that.

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor

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