Climate, China, Buy American to dominate Biden bilateral with prime minister Tuesday

James Marshall
Февраля 26, 2021

U.S. President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sought on Tuesday to turn the page on the Trump era, stressing the countries' deep ties and pledging to work together to counteract Chinese influence and address climate change. "We have a robust agenda today and we're all best served when the United States and Canada work together and lead together", Biden said in public remarks before heading into closed-door talks.

Biden later tweeted that he looked forward "to renewing the strong friendship between the United States and Canada and working to tackle the shared challenges we face".

In Ottawa, Trudeau was joined by Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau, with Biden, Harris and members of his cabinet projected on a big-screen TV.

It will be the first official meeting between the two countries since Biden took office on January 20.

Freeland, who addressed Harris directly, was no less effusive in her praise for the first woman and person of colour to be elected US vice-president.

To boost alliances, the blueprint calls for a revival of the North American Leaders' Summit as a "recommitment of solidarity" between the U.S., Canada and Mexico, according to the White House.

The bilateral meeting will include discussion on and then the unveiling of a "partnership roadmap" for the future of the Canada-U.S. relationship at the end of the meeting at around 5:45 p.m. ET.

The agreed path forward will outline how the two countries intend to work together to fight COVID-19, rebuild their economies, tackle climate change, advance diversity, improve national security measures and build global alliances.

US President Joe Biden speaks virtually from the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, to the Munich Security Conference in Germany, on February 19, 2021. "So we're not wasting any time in getting down to work", Trudeau said. The roadmap aims to "advance our shared vision of prosperity, diversity, equity and justice for all our citizens", the White House said.

The conversation is also expected to cover some specific issues, including the two countries' respective vaccine rollouts and aid for global immunization efforts; cross-border energy projects on the heels of the Keystone XL rejection; and relations with China given ongoing tensions and that country's human rights abuses.

The White House also says the two plan to resurrect the North American Leaders' Summit - a trilateral meeting of Canada, the US and Mexico, more commonly known as the "Three Amigos" summit, which hasn't been convened since 2016.

A number of Canada's explicit priorities, including access to COVID-19 vaccines, freeing Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig from China or securing an exemption to Buy American, are conspicuously absent. He also mentioned the now oft-repeated factoid that Harris lived in Montreal when she was a teenager. Under president Donald Trump, however, it was given the green light.

It's a longstanding tradition that the first worldwide visit a US president makes after inauguration is to Canada, and it's a trip Trump didn't take, coming only briefly for a G7 summit in 2018.

"We've had a very rocky four years under Trump..."

The two countries are also expected to discuss human rights abuses in China and how the USA can help Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, who the US officials said are being "unjustly detained" in China.

Canada has been squeezed by vaccine production problems in Europe, prompting calls for US help - especially since a key Pfizer manufacturing facility in MI is just two hours from the border.

"We feel we are off to the races here", the Canadian government source added". She said with so many commonalities, now is the time to seize on that and see how much progress can be made, but cautioned Canada that while the tone will change, "the USA will still act in its own national interest". They will want to get what the Canadians got and they won't all succeed.

Experts want Ottawa to push the US hard to exempt Canada from Buy American, Biden's suite of protectionist measures to ensure infrastructure spending prioritizes American businesses.

"The United States has no closer friend than Canada", Biden said, setting the tone for the get-together conducted by video link between the White House and Trudeau's office in Ottawa. S. expert, says now is the time for Trudeau to push hard to ensure Canadian workers and businesses are exempted from the rules.

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