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

BCHL Bulldogs are for sale

The Port Alberni Junior Hockey Society seeks a buyer after six full seasons of operation

Changes coming to BC Ferries reservations for Vancouver Island routes

Many customers are booking multiple reservations, inflating wait times

Port Alberni will consider cannabis bylaws at committee of the whole meeting

Members of the public are invited to provide input

Port Alberni Black Sheep win match against Island rivals

Black Sheep squared off against the Nanaimo Hornets for TC Cup action

11th annual Magic Cottage kicks off this weekend in Port Alberni

Cottage will be open over two weekends in November

Six students arrested, charged in sex assault probe at Toronto all-boys school

The school’s principal, Greg Reeves, described the video of the alleged sexual assault as ‘horrific’

Elections BC keeps eye on Canada Post dispute, but no change in Nov. 30 deadline

Vote No spokesman say an extension of one or two weeks would ensure all ballots are counted

Langley school pulls Japanese ‘rising sun’ flag after student petition

School district promises consultation with students and parents, defends using flag for war history

Calgary bobsled death inquiry recommends infrared technology, safety audits

A judge found the deaths of 17-year-old twins Evan and Jordan Caldwell were accidental and caused by blunt-force head and neck trauma

First ski hill in B.C. opened this weekend

Sun Peaks, near Kamloops, was the first ski hill in the province to open for season

$50k fine and community service for Vancouver Island tax evader

David Gonyea was given a nine-month conditional sentence

Island connection to launch of new $10 bill

Great nephew of Viola Desmond says bill is a ‘step in the right direction’

Paved Pacific Rim National Park trail costs balloon to $51 million

Feds kick in an additional $17 million to complete trail running between Tofino and Ucluelet

Most Read