Joe Biden’s first meeting with the foreign head of government since becoming president will be with Canada’s Justin Trudeau.
United States President Joe Biden will hold a virtual meeting next week with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in what will be Biden’s first official meeting with a foreign head of government since taking office last month .
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden would “highlight the strong and deep partnership between the United States and Canada as NATO neighbors, friends and allies” during Tuesday’s meeting .
Biden and his cabinet will also virtually meet with Canadian ministers to discuss “a range of bilateral and global issues,” Psaki said in a statement on Saturday.
Trudeau hailed the upcoming meeting, tweeting that he and Biden would “focus on ending the pandemic, growing the middle class and creating jobs, and tackling climate change” in their discussions.
Canada and the United States share one of the strongest and deepest friendships between two countries in the world. Tuesday I will meet virtually @POTUS @Joe Biden – we will focus on ending the pandemic, growing the middle class, creating jobs and fighting climate change.
– Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) February 20, 2021
Since taking office on Jan.20, Biden has sought to reconnect with some of the United States’ traditional allies, including Canada and the European Union.
Most US presidents travel to Mexico or Canada on their first official trip after taking the oath, but former President Donald Trump avoided this tradition in 2017 when he visited Saudi Arabia.
The United States and Canada are staunch allies, sharing the world’s longest land border and exchanging hundreds of billions of dollars in goods and services every year.
But bilateral relations suffered under Trump, when the former US president withdrew the country from several international agreements, forced renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and imposed tariffs on it. Canadian aluminum and steel.
Trudeau was the first foreign leader to speak directly to Biden following his victory in the November presidential election, signaling a return to the status quo, however.
The Canadian Prime Minister has said he looks forward to working with the President on climate issues, among others – although Trudeau expressed disappointment to Biden’s decision to cancel a contentious oil pipeline between the two countries.
Tuesday I will meet virtually @CanadianPM Justin Trudeau. I look forward to renewing the strong friendship between the United States and Canada and working to address the common challenges we face.
– President Biden (@POTUS) February 20, 2021
CBC News reported that the Keystone XL pipeline will likely be showcased at Tuesday’s meeting, although this is not a major talking point.
Trudeau is also expected to discuss the ongoing detention of two Canadians – businessman Michael Spavor and former diplomat Michael Kovrig – in China, according to CBC, which cited an anonymous source.
Meanwhile, Canadian officials said Friday that the Canada-U.S. Border will remain closed to non-essential travel until at least March 21 due to the coronavirus.
The United States has recorded the highest number of COVID-19 cases and coronavirus-related deaths in the world, as Canada works to contain the spread of new, more easily transmitted variants during the second wave of the pandemic.
“We will continue to base our decisions on the best public health advice available to protect Canadians from # COVID19,” Public Safety Minister Bill Blair tweeted of the continued border closure.