Obama headed to Canada to meet with top leaders

Obama headed to Canada to meet with top leaders
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President Obama is heading to Canada in June to meet with Canadian and Mexican leaders to discuss strengthening their economic ties.

Free trade is expected to remain a hot topic in the U.S. presidential election as Obama travels north to attend the North American Leaders’ Summit on June 29 with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, the White House announced on Wednesday.

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"The summit is further recognition of the value of a more integrated North America to advance the security and prosperity of the continent," the White House said in a statement.

"It also highlights the importance of continuing to strengthen the bilateral and trilateral ties between United States, Canada and Mexico."

The three nations are major trading partners and are part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with nine other Pacific Rim countries. 

While in Ottawa the president will get a chance to call for support of the TPP in an address to a joint session of the Parliament of Canada, where top Canadian officials have vowed to hold a vigorous debate on the sweeping trade agreement. 

“I look forward to meeting with President Obama and President Peña Nieto to make real progress on the challenges we collectively face, whether how we can expand trade between our nations, build competitive clean growth economies, or create real help for middle-class families,” Trudeau said in a statement.

The meeting marks the first time since 2007 that Canada will hold the summit.

Canada was scheduled to host the summit last year but it was canceled in the spat between the United States and Canada over the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Nieto hosted the last summit in 2014 in Toluca, Mexico.

On the trade front, Obama has been urging Congress to move quickly to pass the TPP amid raging debate on the campaign trail.

Presumptive Republican nominee Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpSarah Huckabee Sanders becomes Fox News contributor The US-Iranian scuffle over a ship is a sideshow to events in the Gulf South Korea: US, North Korea to resume nuclear talks 'soon' MORE along with Democratic front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonPoll shows Biden, Warren tied with Trump in Arizona The Hill's Morning Report - Trump touts new immigration policy, backtracks on tax cuts Hickenlooper announces Senate bid MORE and her rival Bernie SandersBernie Sanders2020 candidates have the chance to embrace smarter education policies Bernie Sanders Adviser talks criminal justice reform proposal, 'Medicare for All' plan Poll shows Biden, Warren tied with Trump in Arizona MORE are all opposed to the 12-nation Asia-Pacific deal. Trump and Sanders have vowed to stop the agreement from moving through Congress if they are elected.

Trump has even gone a step further, vowing to slap hefty tariffs on the products made by U.S. companies, such as Carrier from Indiana, that move their operations south of the border. He also has vowed during his rallies to make Mexico pay for a wall along the border to stop illegal immigration.