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Trump walks back on NAFTA campaign promise

Trump ran on the promise to put America and American workers first [Getty]

Date of publication: 27 April, 2017

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Trump had promised to put American workers first by ending trade agreements but a phone call with the leaders of Mexico and Canada changed his mind.

Two days shy of his 100 days in office, US President Donald Trump has announced that he will soon begin renegotiating NAFTA.

The North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA] was one of the policies Trump denounced as a presidential candidate but now as president, he has walked back on his campaign promise to scrap the agreement.

Trump ran on the promise to put America and American workers first. This meant that he strongly opposed trade agreements, like NAFTA and TPP, which allowed the tariff free import of goods to the great disadvantage of American produce and jobs.  

NAFTA was a particularly favoured subject of scorn for candidate Trump since it was introduced, negotiated and signed by his then opponent Hillary Clinton’s husband during his tenure as president in the 1990s.

“It's been very, very bad for our companies and for our workers, and we're going to make some very big changes, or we are going to get rid of NAFTA once and for all," Trump said last week.

On Thursday, there were reports of an executive order in the works withdrawing the US from the agreement. Trump had made a similar order that suspended TPP.

But after phone calls with leaders of Canada and Mexico, he has elected to simply renegotiate the agreement instead of scrapping it.

"It is my privilege to bring NAFTA up to date through renegotiation," read a statement released by the White House.

"It is an honour to deal with both President Peña Nieto and Prime Minister Trudeau, and I believe that the end result will make all three countries stronger and better."

Trump has been rushing to fulfil as many of his campaign promises as he could. In light of the failure of his ‘Muslim ban’ attempts and the defeat of the revision of Obamacare, Trump is struggling with delivering on his populism in the face of the political complexities of Washington.   

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