Tuesday, May 30

Biden and Trudeau vow cooperation on trade, security after talks

President Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed to continue and strengthen their cooperation on trade, security and addressing climate change Friday after a day of meetings, speeches and a joint press conference in Ottawa. 

Mr. Biden addressed the Canadian Parliament, underscoring the lengthy and robust relationship between Canada and the United States. The leaders issued a joint statement documenting their commitment to embrace clean energy and create good jobs, strengthen semiconductor supply chains, protect their shared waters and the Arctic ecosystem, and bolster global alliances such as NATO, the United Nations and the G20. 

“Today I say to you, and to all of the people of Canada, that you will always, always be able to count on the United States of America,” Mr. Biden said Friday. “Nothing gives me greater confidence in the future than knowing Canada and the United States stand together still.” 

In his remarks, Trudeau also emphasized the importance of the U.S.-Canadian partnership. 

“This time, with all the challenges we face, we are doubling down on our partnership and on our friendship,” Trudeau said.

The visit is Mr. Biden’s first to the country as president, and the two leaders were expected to discuss cooperation on national security matters, migration, climate change and other issues. Trudeau and Mr. Biden held a bilateral meeting before their remarks to lawmakers.

“We disagree and agree on things occasionally,” Mr. Biden said as the two met. “But there’s no fundamental difference in the democratic values we share.”

President Biden shakes hands with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa on March 24, 2023.
President Biden shakes hands with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa on March 24, 2023.


Reporters’ questions didn’t focus on only international relations Friday. One reporter asked how confident the president is that problems in the banking industry are contained, after multiple bank failures.  

“First of all, have you ever known Wall Street not in consternation, number one?” Mr. Biden said. “Look, I think we’ve done a pretty damn good job. Peoples’ savings are secure. … What we would do is if we find that there’s more instability than it appears, we’d be in a position to have the FDIC use the power it has to guarantee those loans above $250,000, like they did already. And so I think it’s going to take a little while for things to just calm down, but I don’t see anything that’s on the horizon that’s about to explode. But I do understand there’s an unease about this. And these midsize banks have to be able to survive, and I think they’ll be able to do that.” 

Following their press conference, Trudeau will host the president and first lady for a gala dinner.

Canada is one of the United States’ closest allies, with a shared border that makes the country a critical economic and trade partner. Mr. Biden announced a deal on migration that will allow both countries to turn away migrants apprehended between official points of entry along the U.S.-Canada border, a change that Canada has long sought. 

A 2004 agreement has allowed American and Canadian border officials to send some asylum-seekers across the border under the premise that both nations are safe countries where migrants can seek humanitarian refuge. But the agreement has only applied at official border crossings, meaning that American and Canadian authorities have been unable to turn away asylum-seekers who cross into each country illegally. Canada has been dealing with an influx of tens of thousands of asylum-seekers who have crossed into the country from the U.S. between official checkpoints.

“The United States and Canada will work together to discourage unlawful border crossings and fully implement the updated ‘safe third country’ agreement,” Mr. Biden told members of Parliament.

National security issues were also a focus of the president’s visit. Canada, a NATO ally, has joined the U.S. and European allies in supporting Ukraine in its war with Russia and has welcomed Ukrainian refugees, provided humanitarian and military aide and issued targeted sanctions targeting the Kremlin.

Intrusions into U.S. and Canadian airspace were also likely to be a topic of discussion. Trudeau announced last month that he ordered the takedown of an unidentified object that violated Canadian airspace, and a U.S. fighter jet ultimately successfully shot down the object. The move came after the U.S. downed a Chinese surveillance balloon after it traversed the country.

The visit is a whirlwind trip for the president, who arrived in Ottawa on Thursday night and visited the Trudeau family at their official residence. Mr. Biden leaves later Friday night to spend the weekend in Delaware. 

Camilo Montoya-Galvez contributed reporting.

Source link