The first face to face meeting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Trump was seen by many as the most important meeting for Canada in decades. While PM Trudeau is teaming up with so-called ‘sexist’ Trump to urge policy-makers to remove barriers to increasing competitiveness for women entrepreneurs, as well as tackle issues affecting women in the workforce, we are sure reporters will want to focus on the “epidemic” of refugees crossing into Canada (from US), NAFTA trade tensions, and White House personnel decisions.
As we detailed earlier, Trudeau visits the White House at a time many Canadians fear Trump will enact protectionist measures that could hurt their economy and worry the new president could be as combative as he was with the leaders of Mexico and Australia, AP writes. Trudeau has much less to lose than Mexico in a NAFTA reorganization, as a dissolution of the agreement would leave in place the terms of a U.S.-Canada deal inked in 1987 that would soften the blow a U.S. withdrawal from NAFTA would deal. Alternatively, a recent study shows that Canada’s economy would suffer from passage of border-adjusted tax reform.
Trudeau, 45, and Trump, 70, have vastly different outlooks on the world, ranging from their outlook on global trade to immigration and refugees, but Trudeau is expected to emphasize common economic interests. “We’re going to talk about all sorts of things we align on, like jobs and economic growth, opportunities for the middle class – the fact that millions of good jobs on both sides of our border depend on the smooth flow of goods and services across that border,” Trudeau said.
But Trudeau also said they are “going to talk about things that I’m sure we disagree on and we’ll do it in a respectful way. Canada will always stay true to the values that have made us this extraordinary country, a place of openness.”
After Trump signed the executive order pausing entries to the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority nations, Trudeau tweeted that Canada welcomed people fleeing persecution, terrorism and war. Trudeau said “diversity is our strength.” His spokeswoman said Trudeau was looking forward discussing Canada’s immigration and refugee policy with Trump. But Trudeau isn’t expected to poke the new president like his headstrong father, late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, did to previous presidents during the almost 16 years he was in office.
American relations are crucial for Canada as more than 75 percent of the country’s exports and 98 percent of its oil exports go to the U.S. About 18 percent of U.S. exports go to Canada. There are fears Canada could be sideswiped if Trump targets Mexico in a re-negotiation of the North American Free Trade agreement. But Wall Street tycoon and Trump adviser Stephen Schwarzman has said “things should go well for Canada” if the president reopens NAFTA because the northern neighbor has a balanced trade relationship with the United States. Schwarzman, who leads Trump’s economic advisory group, said other countries have large trade unbalances and markets that aren’t as open to American trade as Canada’s.
There’s no indication Trump views Canada as a problem or an economic adversary but Trump is unpredictable, said Roland Paris, a former senior foreign policy to Trudeau. Paris called it a very important moment in U.S.-Canada relations and said he’s cautiously optimistic the two will can have a constructive relationship focused on increasing economic ties.
“Canadians expect their prime minister to do two things: uphold Canadian values and to have an effective constructive relationship with the president of the United States. That’s a balancing act and it’s not necessarily going to be easy,” Paris said.
Canada has not been the subject of a Trump tweet but fears remain about Trump’s impulsiveness. “We’re dealing with someone who has abused the Mexican president and the Australian prime minister,” said Robert Bothwell, a professor at the University of Toronto.
Additionally, as Canadian Press reports, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump are teaming up to boost women in the workforce.
WATCH – President Trump and Canadian PM hold meeting with women entrepreneurs pic.twitter.com/rEfIhBZSup
— FOX Business (@FoxBusiness) February 13, 2017
The pair are announcing the creation of a Canada-United States Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders as they meet some female leaders in Washington, D.C., today.
The joint initiative is meant to help businesses owned by women to grow as a way to contribute to economic growth, competitiveness and the integration of the two economies.
The Prime Minister’s Office says the council will recommend ways to remove barriers to increasing competitiveness for women entrepreneurs, as well as tackle issues affecting women in the workforce — including those in senior leadership positions.
A senior government source says the idea came from Katie Telford, chief of staff to the prime minister, who spoke to the White House about the idea.
The president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, who promoted child care and maternity leave on the campaign trail, was also at the meeting.
Joint Press Conference (due to begin at 1400ET)
Joint Statement from President Donald J. Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
President Donald J. Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held their first official meeting today in Washington, D.C. and affirmed their longstanding commitment to close cooperation in addressing both the challenges facing our two counties and problems around the world.
No two countries share deeper or broader relations than Canada and the United States. We are bound together by our history, our values, our economy, our environment, and our resolve to improve the lives of our citizens. Our close relationship and ongoing collaboration allow us to successfully meet any challenges we may face over the coming years, and to build a prosperous future for the people of both counties.
Neighbors in Growing our Economies
We recognize our profound shared economic interests, and will work tirelessly to provide growth and jobs for both countries. Canada is the most important foreign market for thirty-five U.S. States, and more than $2 billion in two-way trade flows across our shared border every day. Millions of American and Canadian middle-class jobs, including in the manufacturing sector, depend on our partnership. We affirm the importance of building on this existing strong foundation for trade and investment and further deepening our relationship, with the common goal of strengthening the middle class.
The United States and Canada also recognize the importance of cooperation to promote economic growth, provide benefits to our consumers and businesses, and advance free and fair trade. We will continue our dialogue on regulatory issues and pursue shared regulatory outcomes that are business-friendly, reduce costs, and increase economic efficiency without compromising health, safety, and environmental standards. We will work together regarding labor mobility in various economic sectors.
Given our shared focus on infrastructure investments, we will encourage opportunities for companies in both counties to create jobs through those investments. In particular, we look forward to the expeditious completion of the Gordie Howe International Bridge, which will serve as a vital economic link between our two counties.
Energy Security and Environment
U.S.-Canada energy and environmental cooperation are inextricably linked, and we commit to further improving our ties in those areas. We have built the world’s largest energy trading relationship. We share the goals of energy security, a robust and secure energy grid, and a strong and resilient energy infrastructure that contributes to energy efficiency in both counties. We collaborate closely on energy innovation, particularly in the clean energy sphere. As the process continues for the Keystone XL pipeline, we remain committed to moving forward on energy infrastructure projects that will create jobs while respecting the environment.
We also look forward to building on our many areas of environmental cooperation, particularly along our border and at the Great Lakes, and we will continue to work together to enhance the quality of our air and water.
Partners in Keeping our Border Secure
We recognize the security of our borders as a top priority. Together, we address security at our shared border and throughout our two counties, while expediting legitimate and vital cross-border trade and travel. We demonstrate daily that security and efficiency go hand-in-hand, and we are building a 21st century border through initiatives such as pre-clearance of people and integrated cross-border law enforcement operations. In addition, our two countries are committed to a coordinated entry-exit information system so that records of land and air entries into one country establish exit records for the other.
Recognizing the success of pre-clearance operations for travelers, we commit to establishing pre-clearance operations for cargo. We intend to accelerate the completion of pre-clearance for additional cities and continue to expand this program. Not only will these efforts enhance efficiency at our shared border, they will also strengthen our shared security. In the spirit of a more efficient and secure border, we will also examine ways to further integrate our border operations, including analysis of the feasibility of co-locating border officials in common processing facilities.
Because we share a strong concern about the increase in opioid-related deaths, our counties will work together on common solutions to protect our people from opioid trafficking.
Given the integrated nature of the infrastructure that supports our intertwined economies, cyber threats to either country can affect the other. We therefore commit to further cooperation to enhance critical infrastructure security, cyber incident management, public awareness, private sector engagement, and capacity building initiatives.
Allies in the World
We are indispensable allies in the defense of North America and other parts of the world, through NATO and other multilateral efforts. Our troops have time and again fought together and sacrificed their lives for our shared values. The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) illustrates the strength of our mutual commitment. United States and Canadian forces jointly conduct aerospace warning, aerospace control, and maritime warning in defense of North America. We will work to modernize and broaden our NORAD Partnership in these key domains, as well as in cyber and space.
The United States welcomes Canada’s recently announced decision to launch an open and transparent competition to replace its legacy fleet of CF-18 fighter aircraft. The United States also welcomes Canada’s decision to explore the immediate acquisition of 18 new Super Hornet aircraft as an interim capability to supplement the CF-18s until the permanent replacement is ready. Canada appreciates the cooperation of the United States to facilitate these processes.
The United States values Canada’s military contributions, including in the Global Coalition to Counter-ISIS and in Latvia. Together, we are harnessing all elements of national power to achieve the goal of degrading and destroying ISIS through our military operations to deny it safe havens and to build the capacity of local partners, stop the flow of foreign terrorist fighters into the Middle East region, cut off access to financing and funding, counter the ISIS narrative, and support the stabilization of communities liberated from ISIS.
Empowering Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders
It is a priority of both counties to ensure equal opportunities for women in the workforce. We are committed to removing barriers to women’s participation in the business community and supporting women as they advance through it. As part of this effort, we are creating a United States-Canada Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders. We expect this initiative to promote the growth of women-owned enterprises and to further contribute to our overall economic growth and competitiveness, as well as the enhanced integration of our economies.
The Way Forward
We share a commitment to continue to strengthen our ties for the benefit of our mutual prosperity and security. We look forward to our cabinets following up on today’s meeting with further discussions in their respective areas of responsibility. Our counties deserve our full commitment to increased economic growth, which we will deliver. The partnership between the United States and Canada will continue to be unique and a model for the world.
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