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

COLUMN: Andrew Scheer may be most underrated political leader in Western world

Former MP John Weston writes about an evening he hosted with the federal Conservative leader

Four-car crash, including RCMP vehicle, on Highway 2

Two sheriff’s vehicles were also involved in the collision that closed down one lane

Can the next generation afford to farm?

Some areas have seen increases of 400 per cent or more

Castor town council continues bylaw reviews

Expected to be done April 2019

VIDEO: Trudeau shuffles familiar faces, adds new ones to expanded cabinet

Justin Trudeau shuffles his front bench Wednesday to install the roster of ministers that will be entrusted with leading the Liberal team into next year’s election.

WATCH: Joe Hittel is the number one fundraiser in Northern Alberta for Rope for Hope

Hittel of Red Deer raised $14,000 for Make A Wish event

Ex-Raptor DeMar DeRozan says goodbye to Toronto on Instagram

The guard was traded to the San Antonio Spurs earlier this week for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green

Watch: Westerner Days in full swing

The heat and the thunderstorms didn’t stop anybody

Cigarette packs with graphic images, blunt warnings are effective: focus groups

Warnings considered effective flag ailments smoking can cause, like colorectal and stomach cancers

Canada’s title hopes quashed at Rugby Sevens World Cup in San Francisco

On the men’s side, Canada was eliminated in the round of 16 as they were shut out by Argentina 28-0

Astronaut drops in on Kraftwerk gig, plays duet from space

Alexander Gerst becomes an astronaut musician with live performance from International Space Station

Four people taken by STARS to Edmonton

Blackfalds RCMP investigates single vehicle rollover south of Hwy 11A

The Expo Wheel ride a no-go at Westerner Days

Red Deerians take in Westerner Days all week long

Most Read