From the outside, it looked like yet another bilateral meeting between Justin Trudeau and his continental ally, Enrique Peña Nieto, on the sidelines of yet another leaders’ summit.

But this time, the Canadian prime minister had a somewhat atypical agenda for his face-to-face chat with the Mexican president.

Trudeau and Pena Nieto, who have built a good relationship in NAFTA’s negotiating trenches, gripped hands and exchanged warm greetings inside the meeting room.

It was the Canadian leader’s first bilateral meeting on the margins of this year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit at a palm-lined, seaside resort in Vietnam. The Canadian team had planned it that way.

A key topic of discussion, as they sank into the yellow cushions on their chairs, focused on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks.

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