The Latest: Pence tells Trudeau US is hopeful about NAFTA

Mike Pence, Martin Vizcarra
The Associated Press

LIMA, Peru (AP) — The Latest on Vice President Mike Pence’s trip to Latin America (all times local):

11:55 a.m.

Vice President Mike Pence has told Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that the U.S. is “encouraged” by the progress on negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement and hopeful it can lead to “more fair and reciprocal trade.”

Trudeau said Saturday that there have been “positive momentum” in the NAFTA talks.

Pence says he looks forward to discussing NAFTA and a broad range of issues between the two countries.

While President Donald Trump has vowed to scrap NAFTA and pull out of trade agreements as part of his America First policy, most of the region has been moving in the opposite direction.

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10:45 a.m.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is praising Peru’s “strong stand” on the “tyranny and humanitarian crisis” in Venezuela.

Pence said Saturday in a meeting with Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra at the Summit of the Americas in Lima that he’s grateful for Vizcarra’s role in withdrawing Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s invitation to the summit.

He says President Donald Trump is sending his regrets that he couldn’t attend the summit. Pence took Trump’s place at the summit so the president could remain in the U.S. to manage the response to the apparent chemical attack by Syria. The U.S. led a missile strike in Syria earlier Saturday.

Vizcarra says addressing corruption “is the utmost importance to us.” He was sworn in after Peru’s congress voted to accept the resignation of President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski after a corruption scandal.

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1:20 a.m.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence plans to address Latin American leaders Saturday on President Donald Trump’s decision to launch air strikes in Syria in response to a suspected chemical attack in the war-torn nation.

Pence was whisked away from the Summit of the Americas late Friday so he could inform U.S. congressional leaders by phone of Trump’s plans to announce the missile strikes. The vice president spoke to top Republican and Democratic leaders from his hotel suite before attending a banquet hosted by Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra.

For Pence, the calls and schedule changes served as the latest example of his supporting role here in place of Trump, who pulled out of the summit so he could manage the U.S. response to the suspected chemical attack in Syria.

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