US President Donald Trump is reportedly contemplating individual trade agreements with Canada and Mexico in a shift in North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations.

According to White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow, Trump's preference now is to actually negotiate with Mexico and Canada separately.

Speaking to Fox News, Kudlow said: "He is very seriously contemplating kind of a shift in the NAFTA negotiations. His preference now, and he asked me to convey this, is to actually negotiate with Mexico and Canada separately,"

The US, Canada and Mexico have been working to renegotiate and modernise NAFTA since last summer, with the most recent round of talks held in Mexico City in March.

Last month, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the current NAFTA is a seriously flawed trade deal, and the Trump Administration is committed to getting the best possible trade agreement for all Americans.

The US has previously said that while it would prefer a three-way tripartite agreement, if that proves impossible, it is prepared to move on a bilateral basis, after expressing concern over the slow progress made in renegotiations.

Now, according to a report published in The Guardian, Trump "prefers bilateral negotiations".

"Canada's a different country than Mexico. They have different problems," Kudlow is reported as saying. "He believes that bilaterals have always been better. He hates these multilaterals…he hates large treaties."

Threatening such a change could be another effort to advance the negotiations in order to secure a congressional vote on a revised deal by the end of the year, according to international law firm Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg.

On the other hand, it may be designed to signal that Trump is in fact willing to end the quarter-century-old agreement, the firm says in its trade report published today (7 June).

The report claims, according to press sources, both Canada and Mexico have dismissed the idea of bilateral deals, as have several key US lawmakers.