President Trump is increasingly using trade as a point of leverage to win concessions on national security and foreign affairs.
Trump in July suggested he would unwind access to the U.S. market for China if it did not do more to pressure North Korea, asking on Twitter, “Why should we continue these deals with countries that do not help us?”
On Sunday, he floated the possibility that the U.S. could end trade with any country doing business with North Korea, a threat that would cover China and Germany.
Trump also is considering a withdrawal from a free trade agreement negotiated by the George W. Bush administration with South Korea, a move the president has previously blamed on a steep trade deficit, but which comes as he presses Seoul to take a tougher line with North Korea.
Mexico is yet another target. Trump suggested the U.S. could withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Mexico and Canada if Mexico does not pay for a border wall.
Many see Trump’s use of trade deals as a cudgel in foreign policy negotiations as a dicey strategy.