Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and US President Donald Trump spoke over the phone on Saturday and focused their discussions on trade between the two countries.
According to a release from the Prime Minister’s Office, Trudeau discussed with Trump the longstanding economic relationship between both countries.
“The Prime Minister and the President reiterated the importance of the Canada-United States bilateral relationship, and discussed various areas of mutual interest,” a statement from the office read. “The Prime Minister noted the depth of the Canada U.S. economic relationship, with 35 states having Canada as their top export destination.”
It is not known how long the phone call lasted.
During the same press briefing today that criticized media for ‘falsely reporting’ the Washington DC attendance of Trump’s inauguration ceremony, White House Press Secretary Sean Spice said “the president had a constructive conversation with Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada about strengthening the relationship between our two nations.”
Spice added that the two leaders “discussed setting up additional meetings in the days to come which we will follow up on”.
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The newly inaugurated president has been highly critical of NAFTA’s perceived impact on American jobs, particularly manufacturing jobs lost to Ontario and Quebec. In British Columbia, changes to NAFTA could greatly affect the already-struggling lumber industry.
Trump has threatened to end the trilateral free trade deal that was first created 23 years ago if Canada and Mexico do not agree to his terms. During his inaugural speech from the steps of the capitol on Friday, he repeatedly emphasized on a trade and international affairs policy that puts “America First”.
And shortly after being inaugurated, the White House website was updated with the new president’s position on trade policy: “President Trump is committed to renegotiating NAFTA. 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.”
Unlike the close relationship between Trudeau and Barrack Obama, there is little common ground between Trudeau and Trump, particularly on climate change, foreign policy, and LGBTQ rights.
On Friday, Trudeau’s office released a statement congratulating the new president on his inauguration.