BUENOS AIRES – President Donald Trump said late Saturday he will formally terminate the North American Free Trade Agreement soon, a move designed to put pressure on Congress to approve a new deal he signed during the G-20 summit.
“I’ll be terminating it within a relatively short period of time,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One as he flew back to Washington after a two-day meeting in Argentina with the leaders of other major world economies. “We (will) get rid of NAFTA. It’s been a disaster for the United States.”
Trump signed a new deal here Friday with the president of Mexico and Canada’s prime minister, following through on a campaign promise he made to renegotiate the long controversial NAFTA agreement. The move will give Congress six months to accept that new agreement or revert to pre-NAFTA trade rules.
The decision was intended to send a message to Democrats, who will take control of the House of Representatives in January. Many have expressed skepticism about the new trade agreement that Trump negotiated.
The president, who cited the death of former President George H.W. Bush late Friday in canceling a scheduled press conference in Buenos Aires, also told reporters that he would likely sign a short-term agreement to keep the government open past a deadline Friday.
Work in Congress is likely to be suspended for much of this week for Bush’s funeral.
“If (lawmakers) come, which they have, to talk about an extension because of President Bush’s passing, I would absolutely consider it and probably give it,” Trump said.
The president also said his administration is still working on a second meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Trump said he expected that meeting could take place early next year, potentially in January or February.
Asked whether he would ever host Kim in the U.S., Trump said, “At some point, yeah.”