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Biden, Trudeau agree to meet next month as they begin to reset relations

  • 23 Jan 2021

Trudeau and Biden discussed Covid-19, the Keystone XL oil pipeline and climate change and are set to meet virtually or in person next month.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (R) shakes hands with US Vice President then Joe Biden during a meeting in Trudeau's office on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, December 9, 2016. ( Reuters Archive )

Canada’s Justin Trudeau and US President Joe Biden have agreed to join forces to combat coronavirus in North America and to meet next month, the prime minister’s office said following a call between the two leaders.

Trudeau, who has been keen to embrace the new president and turn the page on the often tumultuous Donald Trump years, was the first foreign leader to speak with Biden since Wednesday’s inauguration.

“They discussed collaboration on vaccines and acknowledged that the two countries’ efforts are strengthened by existing exchanges of medical personnel and the flow of critical medical supplies,” according to a read out of the call.

The two also agreed to expand cooperation on continental defence and in the Arctic, and said their respective top defence and foreign affairs would be meet at the earliest opportunity.

READ MORE: Exit Trump: World leaders react as Biden inauguration ushers in 'new dawn'

Trudeau earlier on Friday hailed Biden’s arrival as a “new era” for bilateral ties but the relationship has begun with an early disagreement after Biden scrapped the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the United States on his first day in office on Wednesday.

Pipeline builder TC Energy Corp said it would eliminate more than 1,000 construction jobs in coming weeks due to the cancellation.

“The prime minister raised Canada’s disappointment with the United States’ decision on the Keystone XL pipeline,” according to the read out, which noted that Trudeau also brought up the “the importance of the softwood lumber industry, and urged the removal of duties.”

The long-running dispute saw the Trump administration impose tariffs against what it saw as unfair subsidies for Canadian exporters of softwood lumber, which is used in home construction.

READ MORE: US, Canada trade agreement within reach as Trump piles pressure on Trudeau

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