Mexican leader, US VP Pence to meet over ties, NAFTA talks

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence receives a Venezuela's flag pin from Venezuelan opposition leader Antonio Ledezma during a meeting at the residence of the U.S. ambassador in Lima Peru Friday

There had been expectations leading up to the meeting that NAFTA would dominate the discussion, particularly after conflicting messages from USA trade officials and President Donald Trump earlier in the week.

The comments restore some more optimism on Nafta after U.S. President Donald Trump earlier this week canceled a trip to Peru where Nafta could have been discussed further, and said he could let trade talks go on indefinitely because it would deter companies from investing there.

But he says their meeting focused on issues the countries can work together on, including immigration, the North American Free Trade Agreement and combating drugs.

"The United States is ready to respond, to defend our forces", Pence said.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said on Saturday he was leaving a summit of Latin American countries in Peru very hopeful that the United States, Mexico and Canada were close to a deal on a renegotiated NAFTA trade pact. Both Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto have argued against scrapping the $1.2 trillion deal. He warned that if it could not be overhauled to better protect USA interests, Washington would pull out of the pact.

'I think President Pena Nieto understands that he and President Trump have a difference of opinion on that, ' he said.

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US President Donald Trump has threatened to kill NAFTA if it is not changed to secure better terms for USA workers and companies.

Canada and the US stood shoulder-to-shoulder on Saturday as they condemned the Syrian government's alleged use of chemical weapons on civilians and sounded a positive note about the ongoing North American free trade talks.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was barred from attending the summit over his plans to hold a presidential election that the opposition is boycotting and that many foreign governments consider a sham.

The joint operation was in response to a suspected chemical attack in the city of Douma last week.

There had been hopes leading up to this weekend's summit that an agreement might be signed, but that did not happen and instead, US negotiators softened their demands on autos even as Trump said he will to renegotiate "forever".

Later, speaking in a cavernous hall of world leaders at the Summit of the Americas, Pence expressed gratitude to Canada, Colombia and other nations that had voiced support for the strike and urged "every nation in this hemisphere of freedom" to support the military action.

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