GOP Texas Gov. Greg Abbott predicts success in reworking NAFTA for an 'even better' deal

  • "It's looks like we will cross the goal line in a way to make NAFTA even better," Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says.
  • Abbott says NAFTA "had to be updated" due to technology and intellectual property challenges.
  • President Donald Trump has been blasting NAFTA and threatening to rip it up ever since the 2016 campaign.

Add the Republican governor of Texas to those expressing optimism that negotiators for the U.S., Mexico and Canada will succeed in reworking the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who's running for a second term, said Monday on CNBC: "There were tensions early. But there's been great work that's been accomplished. It looks like we will cross the goal line in a way to make NAFTA even better."

Those tensions came in the form of President Donald Trump blasting NAFTA and threatening to rip it up ever since the 2016 campaign. In countless speeches and tweets Trump said he's willing to pull the U.S. out of the agreement if a better one can't be reached.

"We export almost $100 billion of goods and services every single year to Mexico, for example. Canada is our second-largest trading partner," Abbott told "Squawk Box." "Texas has a lot on the line. U.S. has a lot on the line. I think we will negotiate a deal that will be beneficial to everybody."

Asked whether he believes NAFTA needs to be reworked, Abbott said it "had to be updated" due to challenges presented by new technology and thorny intellectual property issues.

Negotiations to overhaul NAFTA began last year after Trump took office. In the latest round of talks in Washington last week, trade officials said progress has been made. But sources told Reuters a deal in principle is unlikely to be announced at the Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru.

Trump won't be attending the Friday and Saturday summit, as originally planned. Vice President Mike Pence will go instead. The White House announced Tuesday the president will remain in the U.S. to monitor the situation in Syria.

Abbott spoke to CNBC before Trump canceled his trip to the summit.

— Reuters contributed to this report

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