Speaking at a meeting at the White House, Donald Trump said he wants to make the North American Free Trade Agreement better for America—and he wants Congress to greenlight the new deal using “fast track” legislation enacted in 2015.
“I want to change it. And maybe we do it—maybe we do a new NAFTA, we put an extra ‘F’ in the term NAFTA. You know what the ‘F’ is for, right? Free and fair trade. Not just free trade: free and fair trade. Because it’s very unfair,” he said, according to Business Insider.
Trump has been calling for changes—or a new agreement—since he was on the campaign trail. NAFTA is just one trade deal the president is looking to upend. The first casualty was the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which took seven years and the coordination of 12 countries to draft.
On the other hand, Trump has gone on record with his preference for bilateral deals. He recently had preliminary talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May about working on a deal between the U.S. and U.K. post Brexit.
Trump is looking to commerce secretary nominee Wilbur Ross to help push the NAFTA negotiations through. But lawmakers have said the fast track legislation is not a free for all. There are a variety of requirements and priorities built into the process, and Congress must be alerted at least 90 days before a new agreement is signed.
Meanwhile, Mexico has started its own 90-day countdown. The Mexican government said on Wednesday that it’s beginning a review process with the country’s Senate and business sector.
While the two companies retrench, business leaders on both sides of the border are left to wonder how the renegotiation might affect their companies.