A week after the conclusion of the first round of talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), President Donald Trump once again made comments putting the 23-year-old trade agreement’s continued existence into question.
In a tweet early Sunday, Trump wrote: “We are in the NAFTA (worst trade deal ever made) renegotiation process with Mexico & Canada.Both being very difficult,may have to terminate?”
In April, Reuters reported Trump was “psyched” to terminate the deal, and was prepared to do so until calls from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto convinced him otherwise.
Trump also tweeted about his proposed border wall with Mexico, restating a campaign pledge to have Mexico pay for the structure: “With Mexico being one of the highest crime Nations in the world, we must have THE WALL. Mexico will pay for it through reimbursement/other.”
The Mexican Foreign Ministry issued a statement Sunday in response to Trump’s tweets.
“Mexico’s position at the renegotiation table of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will continue to be serious and constructive, always putting our national interests first, and seeking a beneficial result whereby the three North American countries win,” the statement read.
The statement continued, referring to Trump tweets in saying Mexico “will not negotiate NAFTA, nor any other aspect of the bilateral relationship, through social media or any other news platform.”
The statement also reiterated the Mexican government’s stance on not paying for the proposed border wall.
The Sunday back-and-forth came one week after the first round of NAFTA negotiations concluded in Washington, D.C. The first round of talks ran from Aug. 16-20.
In addition, Trump said during a campaign-style rally in Phoenix on Aug. 22 that NAFTA will “probably” be terminated.
The U.S. negotiating team has stated that, among other items, reducing the U.S. trade deficits with Canada and Mexico is a priority. In the first six months of the year, the U.S. had a $36.3 billion trade deficit with Mexico, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. The U.S. had a $64.4 billion trade deficit with Mexico in 2016.
With the last week’s rhetorical jabs in the background, the negotiating teams will reconvene for a second round of talks beginning Sept. 1 in Mexico. According to a statement released by the Office of the United States Trade Representative, talks will then move to Canada in late September and will return to the U.S. in October.
Given the tenor of the chatter throughout the last week, it remains to be seen whether the negotiations will even survive through the duration of the proposed schedule.