Lima, April 15 (IANS) US Vice President Mike Pence has said he was “very hopeful” that a deal could be reached “within the next several weeks” in the renegotiation of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Mexico, Canada and the US.
After meeting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on the sidelines of the Summit of the Americas taking place in Lima, Pence told reporters on Saturday he would leave the summit “very hopeful that we are very close” to a deal, Efe news reported.
During his meeting with Pence, Pena Nieto urged for the relationship between Mexico and the US to be based on “mutual respect.”
“The goal of this meeting is not only to address the issue of NAFTA, but also to talk about the bilateral relationship, which should continue to be based on cooperation and mutual respect,” Pena Nieto said.
Pence said he was grateful for the opportunity to meet with the Mexican president, although he made no reference to Pena Nieto’s call for “mutual respect”.
The US Vice President said the topic of funding for the border wall did not come up in the meeting, while acknowledging that the two countries have differences.
Pence said the two countries were close to reaching agreements on issues such as immigration, combating drugs and NAFTA.
This comes two months after an attempt to schedule a meeting in Washington between Pena Nieto and the US president was called off due to Trump’s harsh rhetoric regarding NAFTA and immigration.
Pence also met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to talk about the renegotiation of NAFTA.
“We think we’re close. We are encouraged with the progress of our negotiations, and we are hopeful that we can conclude a successful renegotiation,” Pence said,
Trudeau also said the NAFTA talks had reached a “positive momentum”.