The Latest On NAFTA Negotiations from President Trump01/15/2018
President Trump said he recognized that Mexico could be hamstrung from negotiating a new NAFTA deal before that nation’s presidential election to be held on July 1. “I’m leaving it a little flexible because they have an election coming up,” Trump told The Wall Street Journal. “I understand a lot of things are hard to negotiate prior to an election.”
He did not write off the possibility of a withdrawal, but Trump said he would rather be able to negotiate a new deal.
“We’ve made a lot of headway,” he said. “We’re moving along nicely.” His words could offer some breathing room in the tense negotiations as the sixth round of NAFTA talks is less than two weeks away.
Negotiators from the U.S., Mexico and Canada have said that they want to wrap up talks at the end of March, in order to avoid having the 24-year-old trade deal become a political weapon either in Mexico’s elections or the U.S. congressional midterm elections in November.
Mexico’s presidential front-runner Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his left-leaning Morena political party have repeatedly called for the negotiations to be held off until after the election. Current Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s approval ratings are at record lows: Less than 20 percent of Mexicans trust his administration. However, a López Obrador win could cause a whole host of problems for Trump on issues like border security, immigration and trade, as Pro’s Sabrina Rodriguez recently wrote.
NAFTA could help fund the border wall: While Mexico has repeatedly shot down Trump’s demands that they pay for the border wall, Trump said Mexico could do so through a new NAFTA. “We make a good deal on NAFTA, and, say, I’m going to take a small percentage of that money and it’s going toward the wall,” Trump told The Journal on Thursday. “Guess what? Mexico’s paying.”