Trudeau turned down visit to Washington to celebrate new trade agreement: report

Canadian Prime Minister Justin TrudeauJustin Pierre James TrudeauCanada vows to retaliate against Trump tariffs  Are US-Japan relations on the rocks? US to restrict border crossings for another month: reports MORE declined a White House invitation to commemorate in Washington the trade agreement between the U.S., Mexico and Canada, citing scheduling conflicts.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpJoe Arpaio loses bid for his old position as sheriff Trump brushes off view that Russia denigrating Biden: 'Nobody's been tougher on Russia than I have' Trump tees up executive orders on economy but won't sign yet MORE and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador are set to meet in Washington Wednesday to commemorate the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) taking effect, but Trudeau will not be present, The Associated Press reported.

“While there were recent discussions about the possible participation of Canada, the prime minister will be in Ottawa this week for scheduled Cabinet meetings and the long-planned sitting of Parliament,” spokesperson Chantal Gagnon said, although she said the agreement, which took effect July 1, “is good for Canada, the United States and Mexico. It will help ensure that North America emerges stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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Trudeau has been conducting all Cabinet meetings through video chats during the coronavirus pandemic, during which he himself at one point was quarantined after his wife tested positive.

A senior White House official told the AP Trudeau would not have been able to be in Canada for the start of Parliament after traveling to Washington due to Canadian regulations that require all Canadians returning from abroad to quarantine for 14 days once they return to the country.

Trudeau has asked to speak to Trump by phone instead, with López Obrador also saying he will speak to the prime minister by phone, according to the AP.

The prime minister previously said at a Friday press conference near Ottawa that he would likely skip the meeting, citing both the ongoing pandemic and tariff threats from the U.S.

“We’re obviously concerned about the proposed issue of tariffs on aluminum and steel that the Americans have floated recently. We’re also concerned about the health situation and the coronavirus reality that is still hitting all three of our countries,” Trudeau said Friday.