Trudeau plans to meet with Trump in Washington this month

Remigio Civitarese
Giugno 15, 2019

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office said yesterday that China had ignored a request made in January for a call with Premier Li Keqiang to "personally advocate" for the immediate release of the two Canadians, and for clemency in the case of another citizen sentenced to death for drug trafficking.

Relations between the two leaders have improved in recent months since hitting a low in June 2018 after Trump insulted Trudeau in the wake of a Group of Seven summit in Canada.

In a move widely seen as retaliation and described by observers as "hostage diplomacy", Beijing detained two Canadians - former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor.

Canada was dragged into the fray last December when it arrested a senior executive at Chinese tech giant Huawei, Meng Wanzhou, during a flight stopover in Vancouver on a United States warrant.

Canadian consular officials are also continuing to provide support for former Calgarian Michael Spavor, who has also been detained in China since December. On Thursday the government promised that Export Development Canada will put up $150 million in additional insurance backing for canola farmers looking to sell in new markets.

U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence has said that Trump will raise the plights of Kovrig and Spavor as part of his broader trade discussion with Chinese President Xi Jinping at this month's G20 leaders' summit in Japan.

Trudeau's office said Trump and Trudeau would discuss ratification of a new U.S. -Mexico-Canada trade deal which was signed last November.

Now, with the recent removal of USA tariffs on Canadian and Mexican steel and aluminum imports, there is renewed momentum to ratify the new trade pact.

Canada and Mexico are ready to ratify the new NAFTA, but the U.S. Congress is less enthusiastic, with some members seeking stronger provisions on labour and environmental standards in Mexico before they take it up.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland concluded a two-day visit to Washington on Thursday, meeting two leading Republican and Democratic senators.

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