Here’s a look at scheduled events of interest today in Washington, courtesy of Bloomberg. All times Eastern.
* * *
In today’s main event in DC, the first face to face meeting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Trump could be the most important meeting for Canada in decades between leaders of the two neighbors.
Trudeau will be at the White House on Monday 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, 45, and Trump, 70, have vastly different outlooks on the world, raning 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.
Bothwell said Trudeau should avoid confrontation considering the stakes and how delicate the situation is.
Considering the recent de-escalation Trump has shown in the global policy arena, between his walking back of his “One China” comments, to failing to label Japan a currency manipulator, it is very likely that today’s meeting will go off largely without complications.