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

Incumbents and acclaimed mayors win elections all across B.C.’s north

Fraser Lake saw their first female mayor elected

Mayoral results from across B.C.

Voters in 162 municipalities in B.C. set to elect mayor, council, school board and more

Every vote counts: 10 tightest races in B.C.’s municipal elections

Peachland saw their election decided by just one vote

Ocean “Blob” returns to North Coast of B.C.

A 2,000 kilometre patch of warm ocean water could signal a warm winter in Prince Rupert

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

Federal carbon tax rebates will exceed the cost for most people affected

Officials say 70 per cent of people in those provinces will get back more than they end up paying out as fuel costs rise to incorporate the carbon tax.

Vancouver Canucks’ Elias Pettersson ‘feeling good’ after concussion

Rookie is back practising after being sidelined by Florida defenceman Mike Matheson

B.C. veteran combats PTSD in the ring and on the farm

Cam Tetrault is a valuable contributor at Quesnel’s Two Rivers Boxing Club

UPDATED: 34 rescued off whale watching boat in Georgia Strait

Tour company says vessel experienced some kind of mechanical issue

Pipeline opponents blast Trans Mountain re-approval plan

Environmental advocates, First Nations leaders say NEB review has same flaws as it had before

Opioid crisis may be shortening British Columbians’ life expectancy: report

Canada among healthiest wealthy countries, but 8,000 overdose deaths since 2016 are causing concern

B.C. cold case helps ‘60 Minutes’ explain genetic genealogy

An arrest in the 1987 double-murder of two people from Victoria was one of three examples highlighted in a segment you can watch here

Delivery of cannabis could be impacted by postal strike

BC Liquor Distribution Branch look at alternative third-party delivery services

Around the BCHL: Chilliwack Chiefs snag spot in CJHL national rankings

Around the BCHL is a look at what’s happening in the BCHL and the junior A world.

Most Read