U.S. President Donald Trump's threats to unleash a trade war over steel crushed hopes of substantial progress in the latest talks to rework NAFTA, pitching negotiators into a political maelstrom and heightening fears for the trade deal's future.

Trump said on Thursday that a plan for protectionist tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum goods would be announced next week, following up on Twitter on Friday by calling trade wars "good, and easy to win."

Trump's statements have cast a pall over the efforts to renegotiate the 1990s-era North American Free Trade Agreement, which had already been disrupted by the early departure of a U.S. official handling one of the most divisive subjects, content rules for autos.