EVER game for a fight, President Donald Trump is picking one again with Canada and Mexico, America’s partners in the North American Free-Trade Agreement (NAFTA). On August 27th he tweeted that both were being “very difficult”, adding: “May have to terminate?” His strategy, of getting a better deal by threatening to pull out altogether, is odd. It worsens relations with America’s negotiating partners, at a time when Mr Trump’s plans face just as much opposition at home.
Before April American business was quietly hoping that a Trump presidency would lead to more tax cuts than trade tensions. That changed when news leaked that Mr Trump was poised to withdraw from NAFTA. Suddenly the deal had louder champions in American business, including the energy and technology industries.
Knowing this, Canada and Mexico seem unruffled by Mr Trump’s latest threats as they go into the second round of NAFTA renegotiations on September 1st. Earlier ones prompted panicky phone calls from the Mexican president and the Canadian prime minister. After the latest blast, Mexico’s foreign ministry merely released a sniffy statement that “Mexico will not negotiate NAFTA…through social media.”
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