President Donald Trump continued to call for changes to U.S. trade deals on Monday, saying that he’s open to pulling back on the tariffs he plans to impose on international trade partners if Mexico and Canada come to the table and renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Trump announced his intention to slap a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports on Thursday. He didn’t specify which countries the measures would apply to but White House trade adviser Peter Navarro told CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday that no countries would be exempt.
Major U.S. trade partners, including both Canada and Mexico, hit back at Trump and threatened retaliatory measures last week.
Trump has threatened to pull out of NAFTA for two years unless the United States can agree to a renegotiated deal with Canada and Mexico that Trump views as more beneficial to the U.S. NAFTA talks have been underway without much progress for the last six months. The latest round of negotiations was scheduled to take place between ministers from all three countries on Monday.
Trump’s apparent willingness to exempt Canada and Mexico from tariffs, however, would not apply to the U.S.’s other major steel and aluminum trade partners across Europe and Latin America. U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May expressed her “deep concern” with Trump’s proposal during a phone call Sunday.