Candidate Trump Pledged To Pull Out Of Harmful Treaties Like NAFTA. Now He Says: “I Will Negotiate Rather Than Terminate.”
Wall Street Journal:
President Donald Trump was prepared to end the North American Free Trade Agreement deal, which had governed trade relations for the past 23 years, with a dramatic announcement Saturday at a Pennsylvania political rally marking his 100th day in office.
As rumors spread of the possible action, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto called the president urging him not to pull out of the accord. “Let me think about it,” Mr. Trump said. Within a half hour a call came in from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with a similar request.
After the talks, Mr. Trump was convinced “they’re serious about it and I will negotiate rather than terminate,” the president said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Thursday.
…Watching events play out, veterans of past White Houses say Mr. Trump needs a more consistent, unified message. Part of the trouble may be that his White House is split into factions: a nationalist wing symbolized by chief strategist Steve Bannon that is wary of multinational treaties and trade deals, and a more mainstream group that is comfortable with the trend toward globalization.
That mainstream group has been actively sending reassuring signals to business leaders in other countries, even as they have been locked in internal battles in Washington.
One senior Toronto bank executive said Gary Cohn and Steven Mnuchin — former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executives now serving as chairman of the White House National Economic Council and as Treasury Secretary, respectively — have on a few occasions reached out to senior Canadian business officials in recent weeks to counsel them that despite the internal Trump administration divides over trade policies, they expect no significant Nafta changes.