U.S. President Donald Trump has made no secret that he wanted the North American Free Trade Agreement gone. A year of on-again-off-again negotiations without a clear view of an endgame has demonstrated the pact’s staying power.
The survival of NAFTA was hardly a given exactly a year ago, when negotiators from the U.S., Canada and Mexico gathered at a hotel in Washington. Their task was to start hammering out a fast update to the 24-year-old pact, which governs US$1.2 trillion in trade.
Trump wasn’t backing down from his threat to withdraw from the deal. Still, heading into the opening round of talks, business leaders were hopeful the U.S. would push for a modest revamp that would bring the deal into the 21st century on issues like digital commerce and intellectual property.