Divided on Trade, Immigration, Trump and Trudeau Set For 1st White House Talks

President Donald Trump hosts Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the White House for talks Monday that are expected to include the launch of a joint initiative for female business leaders and entrepreneurs. 

Trump and Trudeau will hold a series of meetings, including what the White House called a roundtable “on the advancement of women entrepreneurs and business leaders.” 

Trudeau’s schedule for the one-day visit also includes talks with House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. 

Not specified on the public agenda but likely to come up in Monday’s meetings are economic issues, particularly trade. 

Trump has made it clear he wants to renegotiate or scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement that includes the U.S., Canada and Mexico.  He wants trade deals that favor the United States, while Trudeau is known as an advocate for free trade. 

Canada is highly dependent on the U.S. market, which accounts for 75 percent of its exports. 

Trump and Trudeau also have vastly different views when it comes to immigration. 

The U.S. leader signed an executive order suspending the country’s refugee program for 120 days and indefinitely suspending it for Syrian refugees.  The order also banned immigrant and non-immigrant entry for 90 days to people from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Sudan. 

Trump says the moves are necessary to protect national security.  A federal court ordered that the ban not be enforced while it is being challenged by several states, and an appeals court upheld the freeze last week.  The case is expected to ultimately end up in the Supreme Court. 

Trudeau’s government responded to Trump’s order by offering those who would normally be allowed into the U.S. the opportunity to apply for temporary status in Canada. 

A day after Trump signed the ban, Trudeau wrote on Twitter: “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada.”

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