Biden, Trudeau Aim to Move past Keystone Pipeline Disagreement in First Bilateral Meeting

U.S. President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will try on Tuesday to move past an early disagreement after Biden blocked the Canadian-backed Keystone XL pipeline and look to reset relations after the rocky years of Donald Trump, Reuters informed.

In his first bilateral meeting with a foreign leader since taking office last month, Biden is expected to discuss with Trudeau a host of issues including climate change and China, a senior U.S. administration official told reporters.

Canada has often been a U.S. president’s first foreign stop, but the COVID-19 pandemic has turned the sit-down between the two leaders and some of their top deputies into a virtual affair.

The event is likely to result in a shared document outlining cross-government collaboration on a wide range of issues, the senior U.S. administration official said.

It was not clear the meeting would result in any new deal on those or other concerns, including Canada’s access to vaccines produced in the United States or a shared standoff with China over the detention of a Huawei executive.

“The most important thing here is a reinvigorated road map for cooperation between the United States and Canada, meaning that we’re going to talk regularly to one of our closest allies to make sure that there’s no kind of misunderstandings,” the U.S. official said.

Biden is eager to address security threats from climate change to the coronavirus pandemic as well as China, Iran, Russia and North Korea.

He irritated Ottawa early on by blocking the $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline project to pump oil sands crude from Alberta to Nebraska, and proposing a “Buy American” program aimed at directing more U.S. spending toward domestic manufacturers.

Trudeau is aiming to show he is now aligned with Washington on issues including COVID-19, climate change and foreign policy, a Canadian government source said.

The sources spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the bilateral meeting.

“We expect the president, during the meeting, to highlight the strong and deep partnership between the United States and Canada as neighbors, friends and NATO allies,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Monday.

An administration official said Biden would raise the topic of the countries’ investment in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Trump often disparaged allies for their shortfall in funding the mutual defense organization.

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