May 21,2018

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Katie Niederee and Julia Lawless, 202-224-4515

Hatch: Substance Over Speed in NAFTA Trade Talks

Utah Senator Says, “…substance is what matters and we should not allow other considerations to impede achieving our goals.”

WASHINGTON – As talks regarding the modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) continue, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) today underscored the need for negotiating partners to take “the time necessary to get these negotiations right” and deliver a strong agreement that will gain the support of the U.S. Congress. 

Hatch’s remarks, as delivered on the Senate floor this afternoon, follow: 

“Over the past few weeks, there has been a lot of discussion in the press about potential deadlines for concluding negotiations on NAFTA. While speculation about timelines is natural, let me be clear, as I have said from the beginning of these talks, the most important thing for determining when and how Congress will vote on an eventual NAFTA outcome is the quality of the agreement.

I understand that the current negotiations are about an existing agreement that American businesses and workers rely on in dealing with two of our largest trading partners.  And I understand that continuing negotiations means a level of uncertainty about these important relationships will persist. 

Nevertheless, it is critical that the administration takes the time necessary to get these negotiations right. I believe the administration understands that.

A modernized NAFTA will help American businesses and workers only if it includes strong and enforceable protections for America’s creators and innovators, supports cross-border data flows, and maintains and expands market access for American goods and services exporters to the Canadian and Mexican markets.

The bottom line – substance is what matters and we should not allow other considerations to impede achieving our goals.

I am confident that, with continued discussions between the United States, Canada, and Mexico, we can create a strong agreement that will meet the high standards set by Congress in Trade Promotion Authority. I will continue to support the administration in achieving that outcome.”