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President Donald Trump announces a revamped North American free trade deal in the Rose Garden of the White House, Washington, Oct. 1, 2018 (AP photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais).

Who Won in the NAFTA Renegotiation? A Preliminary Assessment

Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018

Deadlines can be useful in negotiations since they often force sides to act. If there is a difference in the intensity of interest in reaching an agreement, however, leverage shifts to the party less desperate to get a deal. That is evident in the now-successful effort to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Canada clearly wanted to remain part of the deal. But up to the end, Canadian negotiators behaved as though the deadline was not as hard as their American counterparts insisted. President Donald Trump seemed to badly want an agreement that he could tout as a win before the midterm elections—and that worked in Canada’s favor. Canada’s position was also bolstered by those in Congress and the U.S. business community who insisted that a bilateral agreement with Mexico was not good enough and not what Congress had authorized the Trump administration to negotiate. ...

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