OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. president-elect Donald Trump spoke on the phone late Wednesday evening and extended invitations to visit each other's capitals in the new year.
A short read-out from the Prime Minister’s Office said Trudeau called Trump to congratulate the Republican candidate on his victory.
“The Prime Minister and the President-elect reiterated the importance of the Canada-United States bilateral relationship, and discussed various areas of mutual interest,” the statement said, without elaborating on the subject matter.
“The Prime Minister invited the President-elect to visit Canada at his earliest opportunity. The president-elect offered the same to the Prime Minister,” the note added.
Trudeau called president-elect Donald Trump to congratulate him on his election victory. (Photos: Getty)
A senior source described the chat as a “very good call” and suggested it went better than the Liberal leader had expected.
Trump takes office on Jan. 20.
Canada is typically the first foreign visit a newly elected president makes. U.S. President Barack Obama made Ottawa his first official visit, as did former presidents Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush and Ronald Reagan. Former president George W. Bush, however, chose to visit Mexico instead.
Chris Sands, director of the Centre for Canadian Studies at Johns Hopkins University, told The Huffington Post Canada that it doesn’t really matter if Trump snubs Canada as his first state visit. The trips are often a way for the Secret Service to test operations in a friendly and close country, he said.
“Whether it is first or not, isn’t as important as whether it happens,” he said.
The Trudeau government, who expected Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton would win, was quick to extend an olive branch of sorts to the Trump team.
NAFTA has room for improvement: ambassador
Canada’s ambassador to Washington, David MacNaughton, told reporters the federal government was ready to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) if the Trump administration wanted to discuss it.
"I think any agreement can be improved,'' MacNaughton said.
On the campaign trail, Trump vowed to renegotiate NAFTA to get a better deal for American workers or to tear it up if an new agreement couldn’t be had.
MacNaughton said Canada also had a number of NAFTA irritants it would like to see addressed, he noted in particular that he’d love to see a deal on softwood lumber.
The Trudeau government has not been able to reach a new arrangement with the Obama administration on the recently expired pact.
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