Lima (Peru) (AFP) – Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and US Vice President Mike Pence plan to meet on Saturday on the sidelines of a Summit of the Americas in Peru to discuss ties frayed by NAFTA renegotiations and border tensions.
The meeting will come after Pena Nieto met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday in Lima to discuss progress made so far on the North American Trade Agreement, which US President Donald Trump has threatened to tear up if it is not revised to be more favorable to his country.
Pena Nieto has ordered his government to carry out a sweeping review of its cooperation with the United States over rising tensions that have been fueled by the NAFTA do-over and Trump ordering National Guard troops to the US-Mexican border, along which he wants a wall built.
Pena Nieto “received a proposal” from Pence’s side “with the aim of discussing the state and perspectives of the bilateral relationship between Mexico and the United States,” the Mexican president’s office said in a statement.
A Pence aide said Pence planned to meet with Pena Nieto early Saturday, with the get-together only being finalized late on Friday.
Pence, who is accompanied by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor tasked with various international foreign policy issues, is filling in for Trump, who canceled his trip to Peru to watch over America’s response to a suspected poison gas attack in Syria.
Just ahead of the Friday-Saturday summit, a White House official said “negotiations continue to be ongoing” over NAFTA and nothing on the subject was expected to be announced in Lima.
The White House has said the United States is “pursuing fair and reciprocal trade” throughout Latin America and intends to “push back against external economic aggression.”