Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives in Lima, Peru for the Summit of the Americas on Thursday, April 12, 2018. Trudeau will aim to advance Canada’s position on North American free trade talks when he meets with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence here over the next two days. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Trudeau to talk NAFTA with Mexican president, U.S. vice-president while in Peru

Trudeau will aim to advance Canada’s position on North American free trade talks when he meets with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will aim to advance Canada’s position on the North American free trade talks when he meets with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence here over the next two days.

There had been hopes leading up to Trudeau’s visit to Peru, where he and the others are attending the Summit of the Americas, that Canada, Mexico and the U.S. would emerge with some sort of North American free trade agreement.

Related: Trudeau off to Peru amid unresolved pipeline crisis

While those appear to have been dashed by U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to stay home to deal with Syria, the chance to sit down with Pena Nieto on Friday and Pence on Saturday is nonetheless important.

Much has changed in the NAFTA negotiations since Trudeau last met with Pena Nieto in November, and this will also be one of their last formal meetings as Mexico prepares to elect a new president in July.

The meeting will thus provide an important opportunity for the two leaders to update each other on their respective positions and look for a way to advance talks at this critical time.

That job looked to be a little easier after U.S. trade officials surprised many by indicating on Thursday that they were willing to soften their demands on automobiles, before Trump warned he was willing to “renegotiate forever.”

Trudeau will look for clarity when he meets Saturday with Pence, who was sent to Peru in Trump’s stead.

Related: PM and Trump talk: U.S. in hurry for NAFTA deal, using tariff threat as leverage

NAFTA will only be one trade deal on the agenda, particularly after Trump ordered his officials on Thursday to look at whether the U.S. should rejoin the Trans Pacific Partnership after pulling out last year.

Canada is one of 11 countries involved in the massive free-trade bloc, which also includes Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Trudeau is scheduled to meet with the presidents of Chile and Peru, in addition to Pena Nieto, and at least some of the talk is expected to touch on the partnership and an American re-entry into a revamped TPP.

The prime minister will also address prominent business leaders from across the Americas in the hopes of attracting new investment to Canada.

The prime minister will seek to leverage some of the many free trade agreements that Canada has in the region and around the world to entice businesses to set up shop.

The pitch could face some difficulty, however, in large part because of the significant amount of uncertainty around the NAFTA negotiations.

Peru is the first stop in a major foreign tour for Trudeau, who also plans to visit France and the United Kingdom, the latter to participate in a Commonwealth meeting.

The prime minister was scheduled to fly directly from Peru to France, where is scheduled to address the French National Assembly.

But he will make a quick stop in Ottawa on Sunday to meet with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and B.C. Premier John Horgan, who have been locked in a bitter dispute over Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline.

Trudeau will continue on to Paris after the stop in Ottawa.

Related: Trudeau to meet Sunday with B.C., Alberta premiers over Trans Mountain impasse

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Police seek witnesses to fatal weekend accident

Wayne Kernachan was struck by a vehicle while responding to an accident

Forestry workers set to begin job action in Kootenays

Operations in Castlegar, Cranbrook, Galloway, Elko, Radium, Golden may see job action this week.

Castlegar pastors find life in wheelchair a challenge

The men found the obstacles were both physical and mental.

Columbia Avenue paving scheduled for weekend

Paving on Castlegar’s main thoroughfare will take place in a few days, weather permitting.

Tour company plans shuttle service to Kelowna for stranded travellers

SMT Kootenay wants to help travellers get in and out of ‘Cancelgar’ in winter months

Josie Hotel will be ready on opening day, says management

West Kootenay’s first ski-in, ski-out boutique hotel to open this month

Prosecutors appeal B.C. cops’ acquittal of sex assault charges in Cuba

Port Moody’ Const. Jordan Long and Vancouver’s Const. Mark Simms were acquitted last week

Examine ‘monstrous’ allegations of forced sterilization of Indigenous women: NDP

The issue of forced sterilizations will also be raised at the UN Committee Against Torture

Canada Post ‘cooling off’ period won’t resolve postal dispute, says CUPW

CUPW national president Mike Palecek says the union isn’t holding rotating strikes to harm the public

Calgary city council votes to shut down bid for 2026 Winter Games

More than half of those who went to the polls voted ‘no’ to bidding for the games

Union offers support following B.C. mine death

Death of B.C. mine worker described as a wake up call for industry

Canadian Armed Forces to change approach to sexual assault investigations

New program aimed at a more open and transparent process, will consult with civilians, health and law professionals

Death of 38-year-old Fernie man at B.C. coal mine under investigation

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. Sunday morning

Most Read