House chairman tries to soothe worried CEO that U.S. won't leave NAFTA anytime soon

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As efforts to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement kick off this week, Donald Trump will have an opportunity to take action he’s been promising since he started his campaign for President.
Newslook

President Trump’s suggestion at a rally Tuesday that he may “terminate” the North American Free Trade Agreement may not really mean the United States would pull out the treaty any time soon, a top House Republican said Wednesday to reassure the alarmed chief executive of ATT.

Speaking to supporters in an Arizona arena, Trump apologized that renegotiating NAFTA was taking so long, then indicated he might just pull the United States out of the treaty with Canada and Mexico.

“Personally, I don’t think we can make a deal, because we have been so badly taken advantage of,” Trump said. 

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“So I think we’ll end up probably terminating NAFTA at some point, OK? Probably,” Trump said. “I told you from the first day, we will renegotiate NAFTA, or we will terminate NAFTA. I personally don’t think you can make a deal without a termination, but we’re going to see what happens, OK?”

That suggestion worried Randall Stephenson, chief executive officer of ATT, who questioned House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, about what Trump meant during a webcast “town hall” Wednesday from the company’s Dallas headquarters.

“ATT has made a rather large commitment to Mexico, in fact it’s a $7 billion commitment, and we have a lot of capital at risk,” Stephenson said. “We hear words about NAFTA maybe coming down, it causes alarm. How should I think about that?”

Brady, whose committee oversees trade deals, said ATT was an example of how American companies and workers can win when free trade breaks down protective barriers in other countries for industries such as telecommunications.

Brady said NAFTA does need to be modernized, but he assured Stephenson it is possible to reach a revised agreement, despite Trump’s speech.

“Look, the president’s rhetoric is red hot, and it creates real impacts,” Brady said. “The actions by his trade team are measured. They are following the trade objectives Congress gave them.”

Brady suggested that Trump’s reference to terminating NAFTA may have been referring to how the United States would act five years or more after a renegotiated agreement is reached.

One possibility, Brady said, is that “after the negotiations, and they’ve modernized it, do you have something like a five-year sort of reset, or sunset or trigger, where you look to see if the countries are doing what they said they would do, before it’s sort of made permanent.

“I actually think (Trump) may have been referencing that discussion for future accountability, than withdrawing right now. That’s what I’m guessing,” Brady said.

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Trump speaks at a rally in Phoenix on Aug. 22, 2017.The Trumps view the solar eclipse from the Truman BalconyTrump walks out of the elevator to speak to the mediaTrump pauses while speaking about the violence in Charlottesville,Trump arrives to speak at a rally in Huntington, W.Va.,Trump arrives at Andrews Air Force Base after namingTrump, accompanied by Vice President Pence and HealthTrump, flanked by Sens. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and TimTrump holds a proclamation for Made in America DayFrench President Emmanuel Macron and Trump speak asTrump and Russian President Vladimir Putin hold a meetingTrump walks with South Korean President Moon Jae-inPresident Trump and Indian Prime Minister NarendraThe Trumps watch as Panamanian President Juan CarlosTrump speaks in the Diplomatic Room of the White HouseTrump smiles as he walks with his daughter Ivanka acrossTrump waves to the crowd after delivering a speechTrump announces his decision for the United StatesTrump joins G7 leaders for a photo at the Ancient GreekPope Francis greets Trump at the Vatican on May 24,The president and first lady step off Air Force OneTrump touches the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old CityTrump speaks during the Arabic Islamic American SummitTrump meets with Henry Kissinger in the Oval OfficePresident Trump, Speaker Paul Ryan and other congressionalTrump pauses as he speaks at the Pennsylvania FarmPresident Trump speaks during the National Rifle Association-ILASecretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke listens whileTrump prepares to award a Purple Heart to U.S. ArmyTrump waves as he and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinNew England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, PresidentTrump joins attendees at the Easter Egg Roll to writeTrump speaks in the Rose Garden of the White HouseTrump pumps his fist as he and Chinese President XiPresident Trump walks to the podium to speak aboutPresident Trump and Jordan's King Abdullah II holdPresident Trump, flanked by Health and Human ServicesTrump gets in the driver's seat of an 18-wheeler whilePresident Trump speaks during a meeting with CongressionalTrump holds a NASA flight jacket presented to him byTrump and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom PriceTrump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel walk downTrump talks with House Speaker Paul Ryan on CapitolTrump speaks to auto workers at the American CenterTrump holds up a note and drawing depicting him thatTrump gestures as he surprises visitors during theTrump walks with grandchildren Arabella Kushner andTrump tours the Combat Direction Center on the pre-commissionedPresident Trump speaks before a joint session of CongressTrump holds up an executive order to bolster historicallyTrump reaches out to shake hands with Army Lt. Gen.The Trumps attend a campaign-style rally on Feb. 18,President Trump walks with his grandchildren ArabellaTrump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuTrump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos attend aTrump looks on as Steven Mnuchin is sworn in as TreasuryTrump meets with Canadian Prime Minister Justin TrudeauTrump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe listenPresident Trump speaks to Democratic and RepublicanIntel CEO Brian Krzanich speaks during a meeting withTrump holds up a gift given to him by county sheriffsPresident Trump has lunch with troops during a visitThe Trumps watch the Super Bowl at a party at TrumpThe Trumps arrive for the 60th Annual Red Cross GalaWhite House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and ViceTrump shakes hands with Neil Gorsuch, his Supreme CourtPresident Trump speaks on the phone with German ChancellorTrump shakes hands with Defense Secretary James MattisTrump greets British Prime Minister Theresa May asSenate Majority Whip John Cornyn and Senate MajorityTrump boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force BaseTrump, accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence, givesTrump reads from one of the executive orders he signedTrump displays one of five executive actions he signedTrump speaks during a reception for House and SenateTrump signs executive actions in the Oval Office onTrump meets with business leaders on Jan. 23, 2017,President Trump holds a letter left for him by formerTrump speaks at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Va.,The Trumps and Pences attend the Freedom Ball on Jan.Trump is joined by the congressional leadership andTrump and Obama arrive for Trump's inauguration luncheonThe Trumps and Obamas  stand on the steps of the  U.S.Trump delivers his inaugural address on Jan. 20, 2017,

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  • The Trumps view the solar eclipse from the Truman Balcony2 of 84
  • Trump walks out of the elevator to speak to the media3 of 84
  • Trump pauses while speaking about the violence in Charlottesville,4 of 84
  • Trump arrives to speak at a rally in Huntington, W.Va.,5 of 84
  • Trump arrives at Andrews Air Force Base after naming6 of 84
  • Trump, accompanied by Vice President Pence and Health7 of 84
  • Trump, flanked by Sens. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Tim8 of 84
  • Trump holds a proclamation for Made in America Day9 of 84
  • French President Emmanuel Macron and Trump speak as10 of 84
  • Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin hold a meeting11 of 84
  • Trump walks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in12 of 84
  • President Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra13 of 84
  • The Trumps watch as Panamanian President Juan Carlos14 of 84
  • Trump speaks in the Diplomatic Room of the White House15 of 84
  • Trump smiles as he walks with his daughter Ivanka across16 of 84
  • Trump waves to the crowd after delivering a speech17 of 84
  • Trump announces his decision for the United States18 of 84
  • Trump joins G7 leaders for a photo at the Ancient Greek19 of 84
  • Pope Francis greets Trump at the Vatican on May 24,20 of 84
  • The president and first lady step off Air Force One21 of 84
  • Trump touches the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City22 of 84
  • Trump speaks during the Arabic Islamic American Summit23 of 84
  • Trump meets with Henry Kissinger in the Oval Office24 of 84
  • President Trump, Speaker Paul Ryan and other congressional25 of 84
  • Trump pauses as he speaks at the Pennsylvania Farm26 of 84
  • President Trump speaks during the National Rifle Association-ILA27 of 84
  • Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke listens while28 of 84
  • Trump prepares to award a Purple Heart to U.S. Army29 of 84
  • Trump waves as he and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin30 of 84
  • New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, President31 of 84
  • Trump joins attendees at the Easter Egg Roll to write32 of 84
  • Trump speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House33 of 84
  • Trump pumps his fist as he and Chinese President Xi34 of 84
  • President Trump walks to the podium to speak about35 of 84
  • President Trump and Jordan's King Abdullah II hold36 of 84
  • President Trump, flanked by Health and Human Services37 of 84
  • Trump gets in the driver's seat of an 18-wheeler while38 of 84
  • President Trump speaks during a meeting with Congressional39 of 84
  • Trump holds a NASA flight jacket presented to him by40 of 84
  • Trump and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price41 of 84
  • Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel walk down42 of 84
  • Trump talks with House Speaker Paul Ryan on Capitol43 of 84
  • Trump speaks to auto workers at the American Center44 of 84
  • Trump holds up a note and drawing depicting him that45 of 84
  • Trump gestures as he surprises visitors during the46 of 84
  • Trump walks with grandchildren Arabella Kushner and47 of 84
  • Trump tours the Combat Direction Center on the pre-commissioned48 of 84
  • President Trump speaks before a joint session of Congress49 of 84
  • Trump holds up an executive order to bolster historically50 of 84
  • Trump reaches out to shake hands with Army Lt. Gen.51 of 84
  • The Trumps attend a campaign-style rally on Feb. 18,52 of 84
  • President Trump walks with his grandchildren Arabella53 of 84
  • Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu54 of 84
  • Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos attend a55 of 84
  • Trump looks on as Steven Mnuchin is sworn in as Treasury56 of 84
  • Trump meets with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau57 of 84
  • Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe listen58 of 84
  • President Trump speaks to Democratic and Republican59 of 84
  • Intel CEO Brian Krzanich speaks during a meeting with60 of 84
  • Trump holds up a gift given to him by county sheriffs61 of 84
  • President Trump has lunch with troops during a visit62 of 84
  • The Trumps watch the Super Bowl at a party at Trump63 of 84
  • The Trumps arrive for the 60th Annual Red Cross Gala64 of 84
  • White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Vice65 of 84
  • Trump shakes hands with Neil Gorsuch, his Supreme Court66 of 84
  • President Trump speaks on the phone with German Chancellor67 of 84
  • Trump shakes hands with Defense Secretary James Mattis68 of 84
  • Trump greets British Prime Minister Theresa May as69 of 84
  • Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn and Senate Majority70 of 84
  • Trump boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base71 of 84
  • Trump, accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence, gives72 of 84
  • Trump reads from one of the executive orders he signed73 of 84
  • Trump displays one of five executive actions he signed74 of 84
  • Trump speaks during a reception for House and Senate75 of 84
  • Trump signs executive actions in the Oval Office on76 of 84
  • Trump meets with business leaders on Jan. 23, 2017,77 of 84
  • President Trump holds a letter left for him by former78 of 84
  • Trump speaks at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Va.,79 of 84
  • The Trumps and Pences attend the Freedom Ball on Jan.80 of 84
  • Trump is joined by the congressional leadership and81 of 84
  • Trump and Obama arrive for Trump's inauguration luncheon82 of 84
  • The Trumps and Obamas  stand on the steps of the  U.S.83 of 84
  • Trump delivers his inaugural address on Jan. 20, 2017,84 of 84

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