President Donald Trump will renegotiate NAFTA rather than terminate it, after a day of chaos sent top business interests and members of congress scrambling.
Trump confirmed the news on Thursday morning.
“I received calls from the President of Mexico and the Prime Minister of Canada asking to renegotiate NAFTA rather than terminate,” he wrote on Twitter. “I 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!”
A senior White House advisor described the abrupt whiplash on NAFTA as the president’s “art of the deal,” rather than a swift reaction to a misstep.
“This expedites renegotiations,” the adviser told Breitbart News.
The news kicked off on Wednesday, as Politico’s Tara Palmeri scooped that the White House had drafted an executive order to withdraw from NAFTA. Five hours later, the New York Times confirmed the news.
The story broke just as Trump’s top economic advisors prepared to reveal their dramatic tax reform plan to journalists at the White House. Members of congress protested the idea loudly, while the Mexican peso posted its biggest loss in three months, according to the Wall Street Journal.
By Wednesday afternoon, both President Peña Nieto of Mexico and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada called the president to express their concerns.
The three leaders “agreed to proceed swiftly” on renegotiating NAFTA according to a White House statement released late Wednesday evening.
“It is my privilege to bring NAFTA up to date through renegotiation,” Trump said. “It is an honor to deal with both President Peña Nieto and Prime Minister Trudeau, and I believe that the end result will make all three countries stronger and better.”
The news followed Trump’s dramatic buildup on NAFTA, after previewing action on the “disastrous” trade deal “some time over the next two weeks” and sparking public disputes over Canadian softwood lumber and dairy products.
Renegotiating NAFTA will take longer, as Trump will work to work out a better deal for the American worker. But if foreign leaders try to drag out the clock, the executive order sledgehammer should keep them at the table.