US, Mexico and Canada hasten NAFTA talks as elections loom

US, Mexico and Canada hasten NAFTA talks as elections loom

USA trade negotiators have reduced their demand for regional auto content under a reworked NAFTA trade deal to 75 percent from the 85 percent they had sought, the head of Mexico's automotive industry association (AMIA), said on Friday.

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.

The vice president also said that the topic of funding for Trump's proposed wall on the USA border with Mexico did not come up in Pence's meeting with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

During his meeting with Pence, Pena Nieto urged for the relationship between Mexico and the United States to be based on "mutual respect".

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 USA and Canada.

Pence Saturday responded to a reporter's question about if the president overstated the outcome of Syria's mission.

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




"There is a desire and a recognition by all three NAFTA partners that the timelines imposed upon us by both the upcoming, the imminent Mexican elections and the upcoming American midterms, means that we have a certain amount of pressure to try and move forward successfully in the coming weeks", Trudeau said.

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.

Pence repeatedly praised the "strong leadership" of President Donald Trump and American allies in responding to the chemical attacks in Syria.

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.

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.

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".

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