After several thousand of his fellow citizens, the traditional “snowbirds”, who rushed to the American border – reopened on November 8 after almost twenty months of closure – to reach Florida and escape the harsh winter, the Prime Minister Canadian in turn takes the road to the United States. This is the first visit to Washington for Justin Trudeau since the election of US President Joe Biden, and the first summit since 2016 between Canada, the United States and Mexico. The head of the Canadian government did not join, in July 2020, the meeting organized in the United States between Donald Trump and his Mexican counterpart Andrés Manuel Lopes Obrador, when the new Canada-United States Agreement entered into force. United Mexico (CUSMA), signed by the three North American countries, and replacing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in force since 1994.
Climate change, immigration, the fight against Covid-19 and competitiveness are on the agenda of the tripartite meeting. But it is the economic file that Justin Trudeau intends to focus on during his bilateral meeting with Joe Biden. Relations are warmer than when Donald Trump was in office, and the Democratic President’s commitment to multilateralism, as well as his stated desire to fight global warming, have been greeted with relief across the border. But his decision to abandon the Keystone XL pipeline project as soon as he arrived at the White House had given rise to the first cold. Today, it is above all the protectionist aims of the Democratic President – who have nothing to envy of the “America First” policy led by his predecessor – which worries Ottawa.
“Barriers” and “limits”
On the day Mr. Biden, Nov. 15, signed the law formalizing his $ 1.2 trillion (€ 1.060 billion) infrastructure plan – a very restrictive plan for “domestic” parts and suppliers, likely to exclude Canadian companies from calls for tenders launched in the United States – Mr. Trudeau affirmed to the press that these principles of “Buy American” constituted “A particular challenge not only for businesses, workers here in Canada, but also for those in the United States, because of the integration of our economies (…). It is counterproductive for the Americans to bring more barriers and limits to trade between our two countries ”. Daily trade between the two partners amounts to some $ 2.5 billion in goods and services.
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