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02:39 - Source: CNN

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During the campaign, Trump made his disdain for NAFTA a central component of a populist message

His approach has not softened since taking office

Washington CNN  — 

President Donald Trump told reporters Thursday that he decided to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement rather than terminate the sweeping trade deal after speaking with the leaders from Canada and Mexico.

The President told the leaders Wednesday he was not immediately planning to end the North American Free Trade Agreement, a pact which he railed against as a candidate and as recently as last week declared was harmful to US workers.

“I decided rather than terminating NAFTA, which would be a pretty big, you know, shock to the system, we will renegotiate,” he told reporters before a meeting with the Argentinian President.

Trump left himself some wiggle room on the trade deal, though, saying that if he is “unable to make a fair deal” he will “terminate NAFTA.”

“We’re going to give renegotiation a good, strong shot,” Trump said.

As he approaches his 100th day in office, Trump and his advisers are hurriedly working to check off promises made during the campaign, one of which was to renegotiate or withdraw from NAFTA. Trump has already removed the US from another massive trade pact, the Trans Pacific Partnership, which was negotiated under President Barack Obama.

Trump’s decision to remain in NAFTA came the same day a senior ad