Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is to have his first meeting with US President Donald Trump in Washington on Monday.
The White House said the leaders will discuss “strengthening the relationship” between their countries.
“Strong Canada-US ties help the middle class in both our countries,” Trudeau tweeted on Thursday. “Monday, I’ll meet @realDonaldTrump in DC to keep working for that goal.”
Strong Canada-US ties help the middle class in both our countries. Monday, I'll meet @realDonaldTrump in DC to keep working for that goal.— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) February 9, 2017
Trump has said he wants to discuss his plan to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement, which involves the United States, Canada and Mexico. Trump has said NAFTA puts US workers at a disadvantage.
The meeting is crucial for Canada as the country is heavily reliant on the US for trade. More than 75% of Canada’s exports go to the US Of the 50 US states, 35 count Canada as their leading export market. There are fears Canada could unintentionally be sideswiped as Trump negotiates with Mexico.
Trump’s refugee and immigration ban may also come up in the discussions with Trudeau.
After Trump signed the executive order pausing entries to the US from seven Muslim-majority nations, Trudeau tweeted that Canada welcomed people fleeing persecution, terrorism and war. Trudeau said “diversity is our strength.”
Trudeau’s top spokeswoman said then the prime minister was looking forward discussing Canada’s immigration and refugee policy with Trump.
Three of Trudeau’s top cabinet ministers already have been meeting with US officials in Washington.
Canadian finance minister Bill Morneau said from Washington on Thursday that there’s always an opportunity to improve on NAFTA.
“Those who are here understand that this is a key relationship we have with the United States and the figures are there to back that up,” Morneau said.
Canada’s foreign minister warned the Trump administration on Wednesday that her country will retaliate if the US applies new tariffs. Chrystia Freeland visited US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday after meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan and Sens. John McCain and Bob Corker on Tuesday.
Canadian Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan met with US Defense Secretary James Mattis on Monday.