World

Pence: NAFTA deal could be reached in several weeks

Pence: NAFTA deal could be reached in several weeks

A new NAFTA could be renegotiated in the next few weeks, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said Saturday in Peru, avoiding new political opposition that could emerge during Congressional and Mexican elections later this year.

A deal on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) could be reached within the next several weeks, Vice President Mike Pence told reporters while in Lima, Peru, for the Summit of the Americas.

Pence echoed Trump in his remarks on Saturday, saying that the USA was prepared to carry out "sustained" action against Syria's chemical weapons program, unless the government of President Bashar Assad ceased its use of chemical munitions.

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

Seeking rapprochement with Mexico, which has been at odds with Trump over the border wall and immigration, Pence said the topic of funding for Trump's long-promised border wall did not come up in his meeting with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

While the crisis in Syria was front and centre, Trudeau and Pence also expressed optimism about the state of NAFTA negotiations, the results of which will have dramatic ramifications for the US and Canada.

"We think we're close".

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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.

"The United States is ready to respond, to defend our forces", Pence said. He learned only Tuesday that he would be attending in Trump's place so the president could manage the USA response to Syria.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons says in a statement that its team will stick to its plan to investigate last weekend's suspected poison gas attack in Douma.

A global chemical warfare watchdog group says its fact-finding mission to Syria will go ahead even after the US -led airstrikes.

There had been hopes leading up to this weekend's summit that an agreement might be signed, but that did not happen and instead, USA negotiators softened their demands on autos even as Trump said he will to renegotiate "forever". The vice president spoke to top Republican and Democratic leaders from his hotel suite before attending a banquet hosted by Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra.

This was Pence's first media interaction after United States forces launched precision strikes against Assad regime targets associated with the use of chemical weapons in Syria.


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