Donald Trump has said there is “no political necessity” to keep Canada in a new NAFTA deal

Donald Trump has said there is “no political necessity” to keep Canada in a new NAFTA deal

US President Donald Trump has once again threatened to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and warned Congress not to interfere with negotiations.

The President's comments come as the US failed to reach an agreement with Canada on a new deal by Friday (31 August); a deadline Trump previously said the two sides were "probably" on-track for.

Speaking at a press conference last week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that while his government was trying to reach an agreement with the US by the end of the week, he would not sacrifice getting the "right deal" for the country.

The US-Canada talks came days after Trump announced a preliminary agreement regarding a new trade accord with Mexico had been struck - a deal that could potentially replace NAFTA.

The US, Canada, and Mexico have been working to renegotiate and modernise the 24-year-old trade pact since last summer, with the most recent round of talks held in Mexico City in March.

A statement from the office of the US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Friday said the President has notified Congress of his intent to sign a trade agreement with Mexico – and Canada, if it is willing – "90 days from now". 

"We have also been negotiating with Canada throughout this year-long process," he added. "This week those meetings continued at all levels.  The talks were constructive, and we made progress. Our officials are continuing to work toward agreement."

However, the next day President Trump said there was "no political necessity" to keep Canada in a new NAFTA deal, adding if the two sides could not reach a fair deal for the US after "decades of abuse", Canada will be out.

He also threatened to terminate NAFTA entirely if Congress "interferes" with the negotiations; a move he claims would make the US "far better off".

In a second tweet, Trump added NAFTA was one of the worst trade deals ever made and that the US was "far better off" before the agreement and should never have been signed.

Negotiations between the US and Canada are reportedly scheduled to resume on Wednesday (4 September).

Meanwhile, calls were mounting last week for any new trade pact that replaces NAFTA to be trilateral, involving the US, Canada and Mexico.