U.S. pushing for NAFTA deal as Thursday deadline approaches

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is pushing for a deal in negotiations on a revised North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the White House said on Wednesday, but Canadian and Mexican officials were not due in Washington for talks before a Thursday deadline.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders holds the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S. May 9, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

President Donald Trump is committed to getting a better agreement with Canada and Mexico, press secretary Sarah Sanders told Fox News.

“We still want to see something happen and we’re going to continue in those conversations. They’re ongoing now and we’re pushing forward and hopeful that we can get something done soon,” Sanders said.

On Tuesday, Mexico’s economy minister said he saw diminishing chances for a new NAFTA agreement before a Thursday deadline to present a deal that could be signed by the U.S. Congress.

Neither the Mexican minister, Ildefonso Guajardo, nor Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland had plans to travel to Washington on Wednesday, their representatives said.

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan has said that the Republican-controlled Congress would need to be notified of a new deal by Thursday to give lawmakers a chance to approve it before a newly elected Congress takes over in January.

Sanders did not address the timeline.

“We’ve got to get a deal that works for everybody, but most importantly this president is going to make sure that we get a deal that works for America,” she said. “He’s not going to stop until he gets it.”

Ryan said Congress cannot begin working on the negotiating law known as “fast track” without a trade deal in hand.

“The point is, we can’t work a bill unless we have an agreement that’s in writing that we can work on and that hasn’t occurred yet,” Ryan told reporters at the U.S. Capitol.

Reporting by Doina Chiacu in Washington; Additional reporting by David Ljunggren in Canada, Frank Jack Daniels in Mexico; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jeffrey Benkoe



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