Canada worried Trump will withdraw from NAFTA: report

Canada worried Trump will withdraw from NAFTA: report
© Getty Images

Concern is growing among Canadian officials that President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Memo: Biden seeks revival in South Carolina Congress eyes billion to billion to combat coronavirus Sanders makes the case against Biden ahead of SC primary MORE will soon decide to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Canadian government officials are worried that Trump is planning to finally follow through on his repeated threats leave NAFTA and will make a move later this month ahead of the start of the sixth round of negotiations in Montreal, Reuters reported on Wednesday.


But a Toronto Star report said that while Canada is "actively preparing" for a possible withdrawal, officials aren't "convinced" that Trump will abandon the agreement. 

Withdrawal from the three-nation deal would take six months. 

Trump has said many times he would pull the nation out of the 24-year-old deal if he couldn't see a way to win more benefits for the United States.

Last fall, U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerGOP senator warns quick vote on new NAFTA would be 'huge mistake' Pelosi casts doubt on USMCA deal in 2019 Pelosi sounds hopeful on new NAFTA deal despite tensions with White House MORE tried to calm concerns about a withdrawal, saying the Trump administration had every intention of completing the negotiation of an updated NAFTA with Mexico and Canada.

After Wednesday's report, the Canadian dollar and stocks fell. The Mexican peso also dropped in value.

Trump and his Agriculture Secretary Sonny PerdueGeorge (Sonny) Ervin PerdueHillicon Valley: Dems cancel surveillance vote after pushback to amendments | Facebook to ban certain coronavirus ads | Lawmakers grill online ticketing execs | Hacker accessed facial recognition company's database Hillicon Valley: Democrats cancel surveillance vote over pushback to amendments | Lawmakers grill Ticketmaster, StubHub execs over online ticketing | Senators urge USDA to open up rural broadband funding MORE came up short Monday on making any firm promises that a NAFTA update could be done while making remarks to the American Farm Bureau Federation convention in Nashville.

Trump kept his remarks more general, saying “on NAFTA, I’m working very hard to get a better deal for our country and for our farmers and for our manufacturers."

"It's under negotiation as we speak," he said. "But think of it: When Mexico is making all of that money, when Canada is making all of that money, it's not the easiest negotiation. But we're going to make it fair for you people again."

Still, the remarks lacked any defense of the pact and didn't erase the notion that Trump may, at any point, decide to ditch the deal. 

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill, like Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsGOP, Democrats hash out 2020 strategy at dueling retreats Republicans give Barr vote of confidence On the Trail: Senate GOP hopefuls tie themselves to Trump MORE (R-Kan.), who traveled with the president to the meeting, has been part of a group pressing the president to stick with the NAFTA negotiations. 

Meanwhile, in his remarks to farmers, Perdue said that Canada will need to more fully engage its negotiating game to get the deal done.

In previous statements, Lighthizer has expressed disappointment that Mexico and Canada were resisting proposed changes to NAFTA.  

Both nations have complained that many U.S. proposals put forth during talks were non-starters. 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has called some of those ideas "dangerous." 

Chamber President Tom Donohue said Wednesday that not completing a NAFTA upgrade would be a "grave mistake."

This story was updated at 3:20 p.m.