Categorized | Canadian Politics

Trump says he’s meeting with Trudeau to talk trade

Posted on 26 January 2017 by admin

U.S. President Donald Trump announced Sunday that he will be meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto as he moves quickly on his campaign pledge to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Yet faced with negotiations that could rewrite the rules with its biggest trading partner, Trudeau’s office was staying silent Sunday, declining to comment on Trump’s first official statements on NAFTA since taking office.

But Canada’s relations with the new administration are expected to top the agenda when Trudeau met with his cabinet ministers.

Trump – who made clear his “American first” agenda during his inauguration speech — used brief remarks Sunday during a White House ceremony to reaffirm his intent to reopen the trade pact between Canada, the United States and Mexico.

That will start with upcoming meetings with Trudeau and Pena Nieto, he said.

“We’re going to start some negotiations having to do with NAFTA. . . . I ran a campaign somewhat based on NAFTA,” Trump told an audience of administration staff.

“We’re going to start renegotiating on NAFTA, on immigration and on security at the border,” Trump said.

No date was announced for the meeting with Trudeau. The prime minister’s office said Sunday it did not have any additional details beyond a telephone call between the two leaders Saturday when they said they “looked forward to meeting soon.”

Discussions will also include Stephen Schwarzman, the CEO of the Blackstone Group investment firm appointed in December to lead the President’s Strategic and Policy Forum, the Prime Minister’s Office confirmed Sunday.

Dominic Barton, the head of the Trudeau government’s Council of Economic Advisers, is also set to attend.

During their call, both Trump and Trudeau underscored the importance of the Canada-U.S. relationship, according to a statement from the prime minister’s office.

“The prime minister noted the depth of the Canada-U.S. economic relationship, with 35 states having Canada as their top export destination,” the statement sad.

White House spokesperson Sean Spicer said the two leaders had a “constructive” conversation about “strengthening the relationship between our two nations.”

“They also discussed setting up additional meetings in the days to come, which we will follow up on,” Spicer said Saturday.

Trump’s brief comments on Sunday were largely focussed on Mexico. “I think we’re going to have a very good result for Mexico, for the United States, for everybody involved. It’s very important,” Trump said.

Still, Trudeau’s government is gearing up to deal with a new administration in Washington as it braces to see how Trump’s tough talk on trade now become policy that could impact the cross-border economy.

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