Canada’s Trudeau rejects White House invite for trade deal celebration

Canada’s Trudeau rejects White House invite for trade deal celebration

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will not visit Washington this week to celebrate a new North American trade pact with his United States and Mexican counterparts Donald Trump and Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, his office said on Monday (July 6). "While there were recent discussions about the possible participation of Canada, the Prime Minister will be in Ottawa this week for scheduled Cabinet meetings and the long-planned sitting of Parliament", the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is due to meet US President Donald Trump at the White House on Wednesday, on his first trip outside of Mexico since taking office.

Lopez Obrador has agreed to attend the meeting, but Trudeau said in a statement he will not be there.

A senior US administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to be quoted by name, said Trudeau had multiple conflicts related to the start of Parliament and coronavirus regulations which require Canadians who travel overseas to quarantine for 14 days on return.

As of Sunday, the USA has seen more than 2.8 million cases of COVID-19 and 129,000 deaths.

Trump is hosting the meeting on Wednesday to highlight the benefits of the new deal - the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement.

The meeting comes on the heels of the new NAFTA coming into effect, and after Trump had mused about going ahead with a separate in-person G7 summit in June.

Why it matters: The caucus of Democratic lawmakers had denounced López Obrador's visit to celebrate the newly enacted United States-Mexico-Canada trade deal as "a blatant attempt to politicize the important U.S. -Mexico relationship" and distract from the pandemic.

López Obrador has come under heavy criticism in Mexico for making his first foreign trip as president to the USA, given Trump's rhetoric on issues such as a border wall and immigrants. Lopez Obrador said he plans to return to Mexico from Washington, DC on Thursday.

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