The U.S. will terminate the North American Free Trade Agreement if it cannot reach a deal with Canada and Mexico during negotiations, President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House on Oct 11.
Flanked by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was visiting the White House to meet with Trump to discuss NAFTA, among other topics, Trump said the U.S. has a responsibility to protect its workers but understands that Canada does as well.
"I've been opposed to NAFTA in terms of the fairness," Trump said in the Oval Office. "If we can't make a deal, it will be terminated and then we'll be fine."
Still, he maintained that the two countries have strong ties, and he shook hands with Trudeau.
"We have a great personal relationship and we have a relationship now as countries I think that is as close as ever," Trump said. "It's possible we won't be able to make a deal and it's possible that we will."
Trump's comments came on the first day of the fourth round of talks aimed at renegotiating NAFTA, which is running Oct. 11-17 in Arlington, Va. Tensions have heightened in recent days, with the U.S. pushing for greater American content in NAFTA products and Canada reportedly preparing to tell the Trump administration to focus on Mexico as the potential source of issues within the 23-year-old trade deal, according to a Reuters report.
Trudeau and Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland also met with the House Ways and Means Committee to discuss trade Oct. 11.