President Donald Trump was prepared to end the North American Free Trade Agreement deal, which had governed trade relations for the past 23 years, with a dramatic announcement Saturday at a Pennsylvania political rally marking his 100th day in office.
As rumors spread of the possible action, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto called the president urging him not to pull out of the accord. “Let me think about it,” Trump said. Within a half hour a call came in from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with a similar request.
After the talks, Trump was convinced “they’re serious about it and I will negotiate rather than terminate,” the president said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Thursday.
Those conversations, along with a flood of calls to the White House from business executives, helped steer Trump away from an idea that some of his own advisers feared was a rash and unnecessary threat to two trading partners who fully expected to renegotiate the agreement anyway.
An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.
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