Trump keeps NAFTA withdrawal in the mix

Trump keeps NAFTA withdrawal in the mix
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President TrumpDonald TrumpSacha Baron Cohen calls out 'danger of lies, hate and conspiracies' in Golden Globes speech Sorkin uses Abbie Hoffman quote to condemn Capitol violence: Democracy is 'something you do' Ex-Trump aide Pierson planning run for Congress MORE kept the specter of a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) withdrawal alive Thursday as negotiators meet this week to hammer out a deal.

Trump said the United States must get a better shake in an updated NAFTA deal or he will consider terminating the 24-year-old pact with Canada and Mexico.


“I may terminate NAFTA, I may not. We’ll see what happens,” he told CNBC during an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

But he also held out that the possibility that the three longtime trading partners could eventually reach an agreement.

"I think we have a good chance, but we'll see what happens," Trump said.

Canadian and Mexican trade ministers were more optimistic during a Thursday panel in Davos.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo each vowed to work with the United States to reach a deal. 

Freeland said the deal is complex and the trading partners shouldn’t rush through discussions, which started in August and are set to end in March.

“Today, we are in much better standing than a year ago to try to find those creative solutions that will mean a win-win-win for the three countries,” Guajardo said.

Freeland and Guajardo will meet with U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerBob LighthizerWhiskey, workers and friends caught in the trade dispute crossfire GOP senator warns quick vote on new NAFTA would be 'huge mistake' Pelosi casts doubt on USMCA deal in 2019 MORE in Montreal on Monday to wrap up the talks.

On Thursday, there were reports out of Montreal that U.S. trade negotiators weren’t budging on their proposals that Mexico and Canada have called nonstarters in the talks.

Trump, who has repeatedly threatened to abandon the pact, is facing increasing pressure from congressional lawmakers, especially Republicans, who are warning the White House that leaving the deal would be an economic disaster.

The Business Roundtable, a group of top CEOs, on Tuesday released a study showing that the United States would lose 1.8 million jobs in the first year after leaving NAFTA.