Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Washington, DC for meetings at the White House and on Capitol Hill. While here, the Prime Minister took time to meet Embassy staff and talk to the press about the bilateral relationship.
Our trading relationship was front and center in discussions with the President and a bipartisan group of Congressional leaders. As the Prime Minister made clear to media “With over two billion dollars of cross border trade every single day, we can’t overstate how important free trade is to the Canada-US relationship. Millions of people and businesses depend on a strong economic partnership between our two countries to make ends meet. That’s why we worked incredibly hard with our North American partners to secure a new NAFTA, which will protect our supply chains, create new opportunities for people, and grow the middle class.” What’s more, Prime Minister Trudeau reiterated the importance of a modernized NAFTA to keep North America competitive in a global market.
But USMCA ratification wasn’t the only item on the agenda last week given the depth and breadth of the bilateral relationship. Prime Minister Trudeau said the visit “was a chance to talk about how we can continue to work together to improve the lives of working people in both our countries, and to set a foundation for closer collaboration in several areas – from energy security to the opioid crisis to space exploration.” A few notable specifics:
- We work together to keep our border secure and efficient. This is why the U.S. and Canada are implementing the new preclearance agreement this summer, to extend preclearance at additional airports, and move towards cargo preclearance. It is also why we reaffirmed a commitment to implement the Entry/Exit initiative.
- The Prime Minister noted we “have both seen the devastating consequences of illegal drugs on individuals, on families, and on our communities.” This is why the U.S. and Canada agreed to co-develop a strategy to address the opioid crisis on both sides of the border to save lives.
On Capitol Hill, Speaker Pelosi emphasized our enduring security partnership, recognizing the Canadians who stormed Juno Beach on D-Day 75 years ago. Lawmakers from both parties acknowledged Canada’s leadership and friendship when it comes to relations with China and other global challenges such as Venezuela.
Of course, the Prime Minister also had a friendly wager to settle with the Speaker over the Toronto Raptors’ victory in the NBA Championship. She presented him with a basket of California wines, chocolates, and nuts. In return, she was given Raptors paraphernalia and chocolates from Peace by Chocolates – a Nova Scotian chocolate company started by refugees who now call Canada home.
Photos: Adam Scotti