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Trump won't scrap Nafta trade deal 'at this time'

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US President Donald Trump has told Mexico and Canada he wants to renegotiate - not scrap - the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Media reports on Wednesday had suggested Mr Trump was drafting an executive order to end the pact.

During his election campaign Mr Trump called Nafta the "single worst trade deal ever" and a "killer" of US jobs.

The reversal surprised markets, sending the Mexican peso and Canadian dollar higher after losses earlier this week.

'Disgrace'

The White House said it had "agreed not to terminate NAFTA at this time" and that the Mexican and Canadian leaders had "now agreed to proceed swiftly to renegotiate... to enable the renegotiation of the Nafta".

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Mr Trump said: "Well, I was going to terminate NAFTA as of two or three days from now.

"The President of Mexico who I have a very very good relationship called me, and also the Prime Minster of Canada who I have a very good relationship, and I like both these gentlemen very much - they called me and they said rather than terminating NAFTA could you please renegotiate.

"I like them very much, I respect their countries very much, their relationship is very special and I said I will hold on the termination, let's see if we can make it a fair deal. Because NAFTA's been a horrible deal for the United States."

Mr Trump's comments on Nafta come just days after the US imposed a new tariff on softwood lumber coming from Canada.

He also called a new Canadian tariff regime affecting US dairy products a "disgrace".

On Tuesday, the US lost a trade battle with the other Nafta signatory.

The World Trade Organization ruled that Mexico could impose more than $160m (£125m) annually in sanctions against the US on commerce in tuna, capping a dispute dating back to 2008.

Early in his presidency, Mr Trump fulfilled a campaign pledge by signing an executive order to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The 12-nation trade deal was a linchpin of former President Barack Obama's Asia policy.


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