WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Officials are working to arrange a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto “in the near future” to review progress on trade talks, a border wall and other issues, the White House said in a statement on Thursday.
Mexico’s Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday a meeting between the two leaders was being planned for sometime during the next few weeks.
The United States and Mexico, along with Canada, are renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Trump has threatened to pull out of unless significant changes are made.
Trump has also vowed to build a wall along the southern border to prevent illegal immigration and to make Mexico pay for it, a demand Mexico has emphatically rejected.
Trump had his first meeting as president with Pena Nieto in July on the sidelines of a G20 summit. Pena Nieto canceled an earlier scheduled meeting after Trump threatened to impose a tax on Mexican imports to pay for his border wall. Trump also met the Mexican leader once during the 2016 U.S. election campaign.
U.S. officials, including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and national security adviser H.R. McMaster, met at the White House on Wednesday with a Mexican delegation led by Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray.
“The meeting furthered the work of both governments over the past year to establish comprehensive agreements on several issues, including economic cooperation and trade, security and law enforcement, energy, regional initiatives, and immigration,” the White House statement said.
It said the U.S. and Mexican delegations “look forward to arranging a meeting, in the near future, which will provide President Donald J. Trump and President Enrique Pena Nieto with an opportunity to review the progress that has been made and to discuss various open issues to advance relations between the United States and Mexico.”
Pena Nieto is serving his last year in office. He is constitutionally barred from seeking another term in the July presidential election.
Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by David Alexander and Peter Cooney