US Vice President expects NAFTA deal within weeks

Apr 16, 2018, 02:03
US Vice President expects NAFTA deal within weeks

"I'll leave this summit very optimistic that individuals are extremely close to a re-negotiated NAFTA which is going to be much better deal for the American men and women", the Vicepresident stated, referring into the North American Free Trade Agreement involving the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

The unified front was presented during a highly anticipated meeting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence on the sidelines of the Summit of the Americas in Peru's capital.

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.

After the meeting with Pence, Trudeau said the "positive momentum" included the thorny issue of US demands around automobile production.

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Trump and Pena Nieto have yet to meet in person since Trump became president previous year.

He also mentioned security threats including drugs, gangs, "migrants feeling hardship and oppression in their homelands", and said there were "real challenges for security at our borders", including terrorists crossing into the U.S.

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.

"The objective of the mission the commander in chief gave our military forces and our allies was completely accomplished — with swift professionalism", Pence told reporters, noting there were "no reported civilian casualties". The allied strike on Friday was prompted by a suspected chemical attack in a suburb of Damascus last week that left dozens dead.

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Pence, however, justified the attack by merely stating that the USA did not act alone, claiming that other leaders at the Latin American summit had both publicly and privately expressed support for the Syria bombardment.

Shortly before Trump's address to the nation Friday night, Pence was whisked away from the summit in his motorcade so he could return to his hotel to inform congressional leaders of the pending missile strikes.

On Friday, auto industry executives said U.S. trade negotiators significantly softened their demands to increase regional automotive content under a reworked NAFTA trade pact in an effort to seal a deal in the next few weeks.

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 USA response to the suspected chemical attack in Syria.

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