Trudeau hopeful Biden administration will improve Canada-U.S. relationship

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the incoming administration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden offers Canada the chance of a return to a more harmonious relationship with its largest trading partner.

Trudeau, speaking Wednesday in an online interview with the Financial Times, said there are many areas of common ground with Biden on issues such as multilateralism, the environment and the approach to dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trudeau became the first foreign leader to call Biden after he was declared the winner of the U.S. election earlier this month.

“I look forward to working with the new administration once it comes in,” Trudeau said. “Indeed there will be some subjects, whether its climate change or anti-Black racism and Black Lives Matter, where there will be better alignment.”

Biden is preparing for the transition after victories in swing states such as Pennsylvania gave him the required margin of electoral college votes. Current President Donald Trump has launched legal challenges, seeking to overturn the result, and hasn’t yet conceded.

Ties between Canada and the U.S. have been strained under the Trump administration, a period marked by often bitter talks to renegotiate the North American free trade deal. The U.S. also imposed tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum, a source of further friction.

When asked to comment on the transition, Trudeau said the world “should and can have confidence in the U.S. electoral processes.”

He also commented on his approach to the outgoing president, who is due to leave office Jan. 20 if the current result stands.

“My job is to work with whoever gets elected in the United States,” Trudeau said.

“Over the past four years, we were able to renew our most important trade agreement in saving the North American Free Trade Agreement and making sure it was updated and modernized, even with an American president who was — is — still a little bit unpredictable and protectionistic.”

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