President Trump said Thursday that he wanted to add another “F” to the NAFTA trade deal — with the extra “F” making the deal “fair.”
Mr. Trump made the promise to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement a centerpiece of his campaign and told key lawmakers at a White House meeting that he intended to keep his word.
“I don’t care if it’s a renovation of NAFTA or a brand-new NAFTA, but we do have to make it fair, and it’s very unfair to the American worker and very very unfair to companies,” he said. “We need to add an extra ‘F’ in NAFTA. You know ‘F” is for? It’s for free and fair trade — because it’s very unfair.”
The 1993 trade deal between the U.S., Canada and Mexico has been blamed for the demise of manufacturing in America, as automakers and other major industries moved factories to low-wage Mexico.
“We put together an all-star team of top-level people that are working on trade,” said Mr. Trump, who was accompanied at the meeting by Vice President Mike Pence and Commerce Secretary-designate Wilbur Ross.
“I have very serious concerns about NAFTA. NAFTA has been a catastrophe for our county. It’s been a catastrophe for our jobs and our country,” the president said. “I want to change it.”
Lawmakers at the meeting included the leaders of the Senate Finance Committee, Chairman Orrin Hatch and ranking member Sen. Ron Wyden; and the House Ways and Means Committee, Chairman Kevin Brady and ranking member Richard Neal.