Trudeau declines Trump invite to NAFTA meeting in D.C.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will not be travelling to Washington, D.C. this week after some deliberation as to whether he’d attend a meeting with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and U.S. President Donald Trump.

“We wish the United States and Mexico well at Wednesday’s meeting. 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.

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.

Trudeau’s office said in the statement that Canada will continue to work with their NAFTA partners “to ensure this new agreement becomes a success for all three countries.”

Lopez Obrador and Trudeau spoke by phone on Monday, ahead of the Mexican president's meeting with Trump later this week.

According to the PMO readout of the call, Trudeau “expressed regret that he is unable to travel to Washington D.C. this week and wished President López Obrador a successful meeting with the President of the United States, Donald Trump.”

The pair also spoke about the ongoing fights against COVID-19 in their respective countries.

When asked whether he was considering attending the G7 meeting, Trudeau cited the ongoing Canada-U.S. border restrictions and said his decision would be reliant on public health advice. 

The current border measures ban any non-essential travel and require anyone returning to Canada from abroad to self-isolate for 14 days.

Over the last few months the prime minister has participated in various international meetings via telephone or videoconference, saying last week that in his view it is important to keep meeting as world leaders amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  

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