Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States Vice President Mike Pence meet on the sidelines of the National Governors Association summer meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, U.S., July 14, 2017. (Brian Snyder/REUTERS)

Trudeau to meet Pence at Americas summit in Lima: PMO

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will meet with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday on the sidelines of the Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru, Canadian officials confirmed Friday.

The meeting is scheduled for 10:30 am local time, officials at the Prime Minister’s Office said.

The meeting comes amid efforts to renegotiate the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and signs that U.S. President Donald Trump is considering rejoining the recently signed Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Speaking on background, Canadian officials said they expect the meeting to focus on NAFTA and the benefits of free trade for all three North American nations.

Trudeau is also scheduled to meet with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto Friday to discuss NAFTA.

Trump said on Thursday the NAFTA talks between Canada, Mexico and the U.S. were “coming along great” and “we’re getting pretty close to a deal.”

That same day Trump tweeted that the U.S. would only join the CPTPP, a multinational trade deal his administration walked away from last year, if it offered “substantially better” terms than those provided under previous TPP negotiations.

Canadian officials have yet to officially react to the possibility of Washington joining the 11-nation trade pact, which also includes Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Officials at the PMO said Trudeau would not “shy away from touting the benefits of progressive trade” if the topic of CPTPP comes up.

Trudeau’s trip to Peru is focused on drumming up investment in Canada and the prime minister is expected to play the role of salesman-in-chief by addressing participants of the III CEO Summit of the Americas “Invest in Canada” session, PMO officials said.

Trump had been scheduled to attend the Americas summit but decided this week to send Pence instead so he could remain in the United States to focus on formulating a U.S. response to a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria last weekend.

With files from Reuters

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