A phone call from U.S. President Donald Trump's son-in-law set off a frantic scramble ending in sighs of relief across three national capitals that the North American Free Trade Agreement would survive.
Jared Kushner called around supper time.
It happened on an intrigue-filled day last month after different news reports said Trump was seriously thinking of invoking Article 2205 of NAFTA, which would be the first step in cancelling the quarter-century-old deal...
[H]ere's what happened.
Washington was abuzz over...reports hinting at the possible demise of NAFTA. Some Trump administration members urged him not to proceed, warning of the economic bedlam such a move would cause. At the Canadian embassy in Washington, some were heartened by the intensity of the reaction.
The business community and lawmakers had, for the most part, quietly abided Trump's trade-skeptical campaign talk for over a year but were suddenly springing to action, flooding contacts with phone calls and pleas not to touch NAFTA.
Then came the call from Kushner.
A pair of sources described the chain of events. At about 6 p.m., ...the president's son-in-law and adviser called PMO chief of staff Katie Telford, and said: Trump has a free moment, right now, to speak about NAFTA.
He suggested Trudeau might want to call the White House.
Telford veered to a stop. She happened to be in a carpool, commuting with her colleague Gerald Butts. The senior officials pulled over to the side of the road in Tunney's Pasture, an industrial-park-like federal area in west-end Ottawa.
They got in touch with Trudeau, and the prime minister contacted Trump. The prime minister stressed the economic disruption that would be caused in people's lives, should the deal be suddenly jettisoned. Trump also spoke to Pena Nieto and, a few hours later, the White House issued a statement: NAFTA was saved, for now, and would be renegotiated — not terminated...Or was this some kind of strange Trump directed event?
Some NAFTA experts tell Metro that they believe the whole thing was theatre, orchestrated by the White House.
Trump trade advisor Peter Navarro and top Trump aide Steve Bannon were behind the now-scrapped executive order. Former Goldman Sachs CEO and now Trump economic adviser Gary Cohn along with Kushner were against terminating NAFTA.
New York Post