Trudeau set to meet Biden virtually on Tuesday

Ross Houston
February 26, 2021

Trudeau welcomed the Biden administration, citing in particular Washington's renewed attention to climate change in contrast to former U.S. President Donald Trump. Tuesday's tone could hardly have been more different.

With regard to China, the world's second-largest economy, Biden will urge democracies to work together to push back against practices and policies of the Chinese government that he will describe as "economically abusive and ... counter to our values".

According to the White House, the roadmap specifically calls for "reviving the North American Leaders' Summit as a recommitment of solidarity among the United States, Canada, and Mexico". American leadership has been sorely missed in recent years, "said the Canadian".

Mr. Biden also spoke of Iran as a threat to the safety and prosperity of the Middle East.

Instead, Biden sat at the head of a long wooden table in the White House's Roosevelt Room and interacted with a two-dimensional Trudeau, who appeared on a television monitor perhaps 20 feet away.

"Biden gave exactly the speech that many Europeans wanted to hear - an America that pats you on the shoulders, that doesn't criticize or demand", wrote Germany's influential Der Spiegel magazine after Biden on Friday became the first American president to appear at the Munich Security Conference, albeit in virtual form.

In addition to belittling Trudeau, Trump imposed a 10% tariff on Canadian aluminum imports.

"We are neighbors. We are friends, as a country".

The United States and Canada also agreed to launch forums to tackle mutual issues concerning cross-border crime and climate change, Biden said.

Biden made much of the fact that both his first phone call and his first foreign meeting were with Trudeau - evidence, he said, of the deep friendship and lasting ties between the two countries.

Biden also planned to "touch on Afghanistan", as he faces questions about whether he will abide by an agreement with the Taliban and withdraw USA troops in the coming months, according to the official, who did not provide more details of what the president would say.

At the G-7, administration officials said, Biden focused on what lies ahead for the global community as it tries to extinguish the public health and economic crises created by the coronavirus pandemic.

"Canada embarked on a very, very forward-leaning, activist agenda about engaging the USA, inside and outside of D.C." when Trump was in office, she said.

Bearing the signature of 58 states, including the USA, the declaration is primarily an effort to pressure China into releasing Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig by marshalling muscle Canada doesn't have on its own.

The order is created to supplement Biden's earlier executive order to promote products made in America to bolster American supply chains and make sure that critical materials are made in the USA, an official said.

"President Biden has a lot of similar priorities to this government's, to Canadians'. and these are things that we're going to be able to work on closely with our nearest ally and closest friend", Trudeau said on January 26. "There are a lot of leaders around the world who are trying to make the argument autocracy works better".

Nor did either leader mention Keystone XL, the on-again, off-again cross-border oil pipeline expansion Biden cancelled with the stroke of his presidential pen on his first day in office.

"If the president can be convinced to include Canada as a partner in his plans on these priorities, it would mean more jobs and opportunity in both countries", Neumann said in a statement.

But on Tuesday, such belligerence seemed well in the past.

Trudeau noted that that work would benefit 'the people hardest hit'.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson joined other leaders in cheering Biden's remarks.

"I told you, Mr. I think we're going to have to make the case", Robertson added.

"'I know the past few years have strained and tested the transatlantic relationship", Biden said.

In his concluding remarks, Biden - a famously tactile, relationship-driven politician - seemed to acknowledge the sterility and awkwardness of an important meeting conducted through a screen.

On the challenge posed by Iran's nuclear program, Biden will say the United States looks forward to re-engaging in diplomacy amid efforts to revive the Iran nuclear deal that Trump abandoned, the official said.

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