Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau departed for Washington D.C. on Monday where he will meet with President Donald Trump. (Feb. 13)
WASHINGTON — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visits the White House on Monday for talks with President Trump that will likely focus on one of the latter’s biggest campaign targets: NAFTA.
Trump’s pledge to re-work the North American Free Trade Agreement — or void it altogether if he does not get satisfactory concessions — hover over his first face-to-face meeting with the leader of the United States’ northern neighbor.
On the campaign trail, Trump regularly attacked NAFTA as a bad trade deal that sent U.S. jobs to Mexico and Canada.
“President Trump is committed to renegotiating NAFTA,” said a White House statement announcing withdrawal from a proposed major trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. “If our partners refuse a renegotiation that gives American workers a fair deal, then the President will give notice of the United States’ intent to withdraw from NAFTA.”
The new president has already clashed with the other NAFTA partner, Mexico, though much of that involves Trump’s planned border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Trudeau has signaled he is open to re-working NAFTA, but also defended the two-decade-old pact as a victory for all sides.
“Strong Canada-US ties help the middle class in both our countries,” the prime minister tweeted last week. “Monday, I’ll meet @realDonaldTrump in DC to keep working for that goal.”
After an Oval Office meeting, Trump and Trudeau will attend what each side is billing as a major act of bilateral cooperation: A “roundtable discussion” on “the advancement of women entrepreneurs and business leaders.” Presidential daughter Ivanka Trump, who has made women’s issues a major part of his portfolio, will also participate.
The president and prime minister plan to announce creation of a permanent “United States-Canada Council for the Advancement of Women Business Leaders-Female Entrepreneurs.”
Trump and Trudeau also have a “working lunch” prior to a news conference at which trade is again expected to become a major topic.
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