Trump says U.S. will 'have a lot' of bilateral trade deals
President says countries that don't treat U.S. fairly will be subjected to a 30-day termination notice
U.S. President Donald Trump says he intends to strike numerous bilateral trade deals, as opposed to multilateral accords like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and they would include clauses to allow a 30-day termination notice.
"Believe me, we're going to have a lot of trade deals," Trump told a gathering of Republican lawmakers. "If that particular country doesn't treat us fairly, we send them a 30-day termination, notice of termination."
Trump has already signed an executive order to pull the U.S. out of the TPP, and says he will renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to which Canada is a signatory.
However, David MacNaughton, Canada's ambassador to the United States, told reporters Sunday that preliminary discussions with the Trump transition team have been positive, and Canada is not "at all" the target of Trump's trade rhetoric.
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The president also pushed Republican lawmakers Thursday for swift action on his agenda including funding a U.S.-Mexican border wall, rewriting the tax code and repealing the Obamacare law, despite tensions over timetables and priorities.
Congressional Republicans were in Philadelphia for a three-day retreat to hammer out a legislative agenda, with the party in control of the White House, Senate and House of Representatives for the first time in a decade.
"This Congress is going to be the busiest Congress we've had in decades, maybe ever," Trump told the lawmakers. "Enough all talk, no action. We have to deliver," Trump added.
But Republican lawmakers have found themselves answering questions from reporters not just about their legislative agenda but also about Trump statements on matters such as alleged voting irregularities and CIA interrogation tactics.
House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan took issue with the notion that congressional Republicans are not in sync with Trump, the New York businessman who was sworn in last Friday having never previously held public office.
"We are on the same page with the White House," Ryan said during a joint news conference with Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, downplaying any differences with Trump.
"This is going to be an unconventional presidency," Ryan added. "I think you know this by now.… I think we're going to see unconventional activities like tweets and things like that. I think that's just something that we're all going to have to get used to."
'More than simply 100 days'
For weeks, Republicans talked about formulating an agenda for the first 100 days of Trump's presidency. In recent days, the talk has turned into a 200-day agenda for passing major legislation before the lawmakers' August recess.
"It's going to take more than simply 100 days," Ryan said.
Ryan said congressional Republicans have been working with the Trump administration on a daily basis "to map out and plan a very bold and aggressive agenda to make good on our campaign promises," including repealing and replacing Democratic former president Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, as well as tax code and regulatory changes.
In comments suggesting a lack of confidence in finishing the job quickly, Ryan said on Thursday that "our goal is to get these laws done in 2017," without guaranteeing that a replacement for Obamacare and a tax reform bill would be enacted by the end of December.