Prime Minister Trudeau announces areas of enhanced cooperation with the U.S.
Good afternoon everyone. Thank you for being here.
We just wrapped up a productive visit here in Washington, during which I met with President Trump. It was a chance for us to talk about how we can continue to work together to improve the lives of working people and grow our economies. Trade was of course top of mind. With over two billion dollars of cross‑border trade every single day, we can’t overstate how important free trade is to the Canada-US relationship. Millions of people and businesses depend on a strong economic partnership between our two countries to make ends meet. That’s why we worked incredibly hard with our North American partners to secure a new NAFTA, which will protect our supply chains, create new opportunities for people, and grow the middle class.
This agreement is good for Canada, and good for Canadians. That is why our government quickly tabled a bill to ratify the new NAFTA and turn this agreement into reality.
At the same time, we still have some outstanding issues to resolve on the trade front, like the imposition of American duties on Canadian softwood lumber. Now, our industries depend on the flow of goods between our two countries. For instance, Canada is a stable and reliable source of uranium for American civil nuclear reactors. So, at the end of the day, maintaining access is important for Canada and the US alike. President Trump and I agreed to continue working together to address these issues, as well as other challenges we both face, like steel and aluminum dumping and other unfair trading practices.
We also talked about the importance of keeping our shared border secure and efficient so we can reduce trade barriers. Delays at the border can easily disrupt operations for Canadian and American business owners, so we want to remove some of these obstacles to expand trade while keeping our people safe. In this vein, the President and I committed to ratifying the new preclearance agreement this summer, which will make it possible to extend preclearance of travellers at land, rail, and marine facilities in both countries as well as at additional airports. It will also enable the preclearance of cargo.
We also talked about implementing the Entry/Exit initiative this summer. Thousands of people cross our shared land border every single day, whether it be for business or travel purposes. The Entry/Exit initiative will make this process more efficient while making sure our border remains safe and secure. It’s also worth noting that the initiative includes provisions aimed at protecting individual and privacy rights, which is of prime importance to both the President and me.
Another thing on the agenda today was the opioid crisis and its impacts. Unfortunately, this is another challenge we share with our southern neighbours. The President and I have both seen the devastating consequences of illegal drugs on individuals, on families, and on our communities. Building on existing efforts, we agreed to co‑develop a strategy to address every aspect of this crisis; we will continue to work together at every level – municipal, provincial, and national – to save lives.
I often talk about challenges we hope to meet. We’re also working together to seize new opportunities and strengthen our ties. Since the President’s election, we have launched several joint initiatives to promote innovation, create jobs and help people succeed. Last February, Canada because the first international partner to join the Lunar Gateway project. Led by NASA, the Lunar Gateway will push the boundaries of what we think is possible, stimulate economic growth and mark the beginning of a new chapter of our collaboration in space.
Canada and the US have a proud history of innovating together, whether it be in the sciences, in the world of entertainment, or on matters of national security, and we must continue on this tradition. Not only does collaboration lead to growth and prosperity, it also helps us tackle emerging challenges more efficiently and effectively; and in the digital age, countries are grappling with new threats every single day. The rapid pace of change, coupled with advances in technology, have completely transformed the way we talk about national security and address new challenges.
One thing the President and I discussed… President Trump and I discussed during our meeting was the need to improve our collective mineral security. Critical minerals, used for defence, manufacturing and high-tech industries, are essential to our economies and to our security. We agreed to develop a strategy to encourage more cross-border collaboration and investments to ensure future competitiveness of our mineral industries and the safety and security of our supply chains.
These are just some of the things we discussed over the course of our visit. Of course, I also spoke at length with the President about the wrongful detention of two Canadian citizens in China and continue to call for their immediate release. Next week, President Trump and I will have a chance to continue some of these conversations in Osaka, where we will both attend the G20 Summit. I’m looking forward to building on the progress we made this week and working with our partners to address the most pressing issues facing our countries.