Sarah Sanders on NAFTA: ‘President Always Enthusiastic About Making a Good Deal’

Talks to modernize NAFTA were originally scheduled to wrap up by the end of 2017. But the US, Canada and Mexico have agreed to continue negotiating until March
Washington, DC

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders emphasized that President Trump is interested in making “good” deals when asked during a Tuesday press briefing about the progress of NAFTA negotiations.

One reporter referenced a recent observation of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudea on an increase in the speed of NAFTA negotiations and asked if the President is enthusiastic about reaching a deal.

“The President’s always enthusiastic about making a good deal,” said Sanders, adding the caveat, “But that would be the key caveat to any conversations, making sure that whatever deal he makes is good for Americans and American workers and so anything that we do, that would have to be part of that conversation.”

Asked about whether those involved in negotiations could reach an April deadline just six weeks away, Sanders replied that she didn’t have any “specific announcement at this time.”

Sander then added that they are however, “continuing to have those negotiations and continuing to have those conversations being led primarily by ambassador [Robert] Lighthizer and working with the President.”

After a seventh round of negotiations in March, U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer revealed that despite the “hard work” of those involved in the negotiations, they “have not made the progress that many had hoped in this round.” Only three additional “chapters” were closed: “Good Regulatory Practices, Administration and Publication, and Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures.” Lighthizer mentioned the acknowledgement by all three countries involved that NAFTA is outdated.

Lighthizer expressed hope that they would “reach agreement on new issues like digital trade, labor, and environment, intellectual property, and much more” and urged those involved to “move more quickly.”

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