Trump warns to terminate NAFTA if no ‘fair deal’

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump tempered his agreement to renegotiate NAFTA Thursday with a warning that the trade agreement with Canada and Mexico would be terminated if there is no "fair deal."

Trump campaigned for president on promises to scrap NAFTA, calling it "the worst trade deal maybe ever signed" and a "disaster" that has resulted in millions of US industrial jobs lost mostly to Mexico.

But on Wednesday, the White House said Trump "agreed not to terminate NAFTA at this time" during calls with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

On Thursday, Trump confirmed that was the case.

"I received calls from the President of Mexico and the Prime Minister of Canada asking to renegotiate NAFTA rather than terminate," the president tweeted.

"I agreed, subject to the fact that if we do not reach a fair deal for all, we will then terminate NAFTA. Relationships are good - deal very possible!"

NAFTA was established January 1, 1994 under then-president Bill Clinton. It removed tariffs and allows a free flow of goods between the United States, Canada and Mexico.

The US trade deficit in goods and services last year with Mexico was $62 billion, but with Canada the US had a surplus of $8 billion.

News of Trump's softened position soothed fears of a possible trade war and sent most Asian markets up Thursday. (APP)