Trudeau And Harper Both Heading To DC For NAFTA

David Krayden | Ottawa Bureau Chief

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is traveling to Washington, D.C. Tuesday for a vital meeting with President Donald Trump on trade this week. His Conservative Party predecessor, Stephen Harper, will also be in the U.S. capital to talk NAFTA, the Canadian Press reports.

Trudeau wants to include protection for organized labor and women as well as references to climate change in the reworked continental free trade agreement.

Harper will be a featured panelist at a NAFTA symposium sponsored by the Dentons law firm. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will also be a guest along with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

Trudeau’s people did not know the former prime minister would be visiting Washington on the same day as the current PM.

Trudeau and Trump will be talking in advance of the next stage of NAFTA discussions, which commence Wednesday and last throughout he week. While talking free trade, Trudeau is expected to bring up the 300 percent tariff that the president’s Commerce Department just placed on Quebec-manufactured Bombardier aircraft. In retaliation, Trudeau strongly suggested that he would cancel a multi-billion dollar procurement of Boeing-made F-18 Super Hornets for the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Speaking to CTV’s Question Period on Sunday, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland had few nice things to say about the Trump administration’s approach to NAFTA.

“This administration is the most protectionist U.S. administration since the 1930s… Proudly (so),” she said.

“That certainly poses some difficulties in a free trade negotiation.”

This week’s meeting will be the second time that the two leaders have sat down together. Despite being miles apart on most policy issues, the two are publicly supportive of each other with Trudeau frequently comparing Trump’s middle-class economic policies favorably with his Liberal government’s. Trump, for his part, declared that Trudeau was doing a “spectacular job” leading Canada while the pair were both attending the G-20 Summit in Germany last July.

Trudeau plans to depart Washington on Thursday for Mexico, where meetings are planned with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

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