(Bloomberg) — President Donald Trump slammed what he termed “decades of abuse” by Canada with a new threat to terminate the North American Free Trade Agreement, a day after talks with the U.S.’s northern neighbor stalled hours before a deadline.
“There is no political necessity to keep Canada in the new NAFTA deal. If we don’t make a fair deal for the U.S. after decades of abuse, Canada will be out,” Trump said on Twitter on Saturday. “Congress should not interfere w/these negotiations or I will simply terminate NAFTA entirely & we will be far better off.”
The president’s tweet was sent shortly after he left the White House in a motorcade bound for his golf course in Virginia.
Trump’s move on Friday to notify Congress that he planned to sign a deal with Mexico in 90 days and would include Canada “if it is willing” appeared to avoided what many in the U.S. business community and Congress had seen as a worst-case scenario. But Saturday’s tweets opened the door again to that outcome.
“We were far better off before NAFTA — should never have been signed. Even the Vat Tax was not accounted for. We make new deal or go back to pre-NAFTA!” Trump said.
‘Ripping Us Off’
That comment repeated a threat from the president earlier in the week to forge ahead with a bilateral trade agreement with Mexico that would leave out Canada, which he on Friday again accused of “ripping us off.”
“We can’t have these countries taking advantage of the United States,” he told supporters in North Carolina.
While the two sides failed to meet a deadline set by the White House, both U.S. and Canadian negotiators insisted that they were making progress. They also announced that they would resume talks on Wednesday after four days of intense negotiations in Washington ended without a final agreement.
Sending the notification to Congress effectively sets a new clock for the Nafta negotiations. Under rules set by Congress, the administration is now facing a 30-day deadline to provide a full text of the agreement.
Because of that, negotiations…