"Not happy" with the current revised NAFTA deal, President Trump said a new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico won't likely be signed until after the November midterm elections. The president's statement comes on the same day as Canada starts collecting retaliation tariffs on many U.S. products.
In addition, today is election day south of the border. Mexican citizens will go to the polls to elect a new president, who will have a significant role to play in a final NAFTA deal.
"NAFTA, I could sign it tomorrow, but I'm not happy with it. I want to make it more fair, okay?" Trump told Maria Bartiromo of Fox News, as cited by the Washington Post. "I want to wait until after the election."
Right now, both Canada and Mexico are irritated with Trump's recent tariffs imposed on steel and aluminum imports from the two countries. The tariffs went into effect early last month.
Calling the tariffs "insulting and unacceptable," Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau enacted reciprocal tariffs on U.S. steel, aluminum, ketchup, and beef. The levy on these products started today.
Despite complaints and warnings from many business and world leaders, Trump is not backing down. The president is pushing for even more tariffs on imported cars and certain products from China, Japan, and Europe.
"I am worried about the trade rhetoric going too far. Signs are there: capital is starting to wdraw from stocks. The mkts are signaling a lot more risk... Change tactics now," tweeted Anthony Scaramucci, who worked for the Trump administration last year.China is fighting back by imposing tariffs on more than 500 U.S. products. Next week, the U.S. will start collecting tariffs on numerous Chinese imports.
With the new tariffs implemented, several American companies have made significant changes to their businesses. Motorcycle maker Harley Davidson recently announced they are moving some production to overseas factories. The nation's largest nail company, Mid Continent Nail Corp., stated it will have to lay off workers because of Trump's tariffs.
Trump wants the current NAFTA agreement re-negotiated. He wants a new agreement that promotes investment in American businesses and encourages the creation of jobs here in the U.S. instead of Mexico. Part of the new terms includes a clause requiring a NAFTA re-do deal every five years, something the other leaders are not necessarily agreeable to.
If a new NAFTA deal cannot be worked out, Trump has proposed separate trade agreements with Canada and Mexico, essentially eliminating the three-country pact. Separate agreements would need the approval of Congress and wouldn't be put before lawmakers until after the November midterm elections.