Trump vows to 'start renegotiating' NAFTA with Mexico, Canada

Washington, United StatesUpdated: Jan 22, 2017, 08:42 PM IST

Trump will receive his Mexican counterpart Enrique Pena Nieto on January 31. Photograph:(AFP)

US President Donald Trump pledged Sunday to begin renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement in upcoming talks with the leaders of Mexico and Canada.

"We're meeting with the prime minister of Canada and we will be meeting with the president of Mexico, who I know, and we're going to start some negotiations having to do with NAFTA," Trump said while addressing White House staff on his second full day in office.

Trump will receive his Mexican counterpart Enrique Pena Nieto on January 31. No date has been given for a meeting with Canada's Justin Trudeau, but it is expected "soon," according to a readout from a call between the two leaders on Saturday.

Trump praised the Mexican leader, saying: "The president has been really very amazing and I think we are going to have a very good result for Mexico, for the United States, for everybody involved. It's very important."

The White House website was updated immediately after Trump's swearing-in to reflect his campaign commitment to renegotiate the free trade agreement that has linked Canada, the United States and Mexico since 1994.

On the campaign trail, Trump called NAFTA the worst trade deal the United States has ever signed and vowed to renegotiate or rip it up.

The rules governing the free trade agreement allow any country to withdraw simply by notifying other parties. This would start a 180-day clock to allow for new negotiations. 

If no new deal is reached by then, the accord would be dissolved.

Since Trump's November victory, both Canada and Mexico have announced that they are willing to sit down with the new US administration to reexamine the free trade agreement.

Canada has said it expects to keep its 1989 bilateral free trade agreement with the US even if Trump withdraws from NAFTA.