Prime Minister Justin Trudeau launched a more intimate form of diplomacy in the Pacific on Thursday, speaking to several world leaders on the sidelines of a major international summit in California.
Even before the 21 members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) gathered for their traditional family photo, Mr. Trudeau had already organized meetings with Japan, Thailand and Australia and planned to meet with Mexico and Vietnam in the afternoon.
Each meeting covered familiar themes: shared concerns about the war between Israel and Hamas and the fate of hostages held by Hamas, the impact of the war in Ukraine on global food supplies, and the ever-present dangers of climate change impacts.
The other common element was a shared interest in expanding opportunities for international trade and economic growth throughout the Indo-Pacific region.
“Canada has had a long and strong friendship with Japan, but I have to say that I don’t think the bilateral relationship has ever been better or closer than last year,” Trudeau told Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida through an interpreter.
“Whether it’s energy security, investing in a growing clean economy, or fighting climate change and protecting nature, Canada and Japan have worked side by side on all of these issues and I really look forward to doing more.”
Meeting between Joe Biden and Xi Jinping
While these bilateral meetings were taking place, US President Joe Biden told his colleagues and business presidents that the United States was fully committed to the idea of expanding trade in the Pacific.
“The questions we need to answer today are not about how much we trade, but about how we can build resilience, help workers, reduce carbon emissions and prepare our economies for long-term success in the future.”
As head of state of the host country, Mr. Biden then took center stage in the traditional photo op, where Mr. Trudeau stood next to the summit’s biggest celebrity: Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Mr Biden met Mr Xi on the sidelines of the summit on Wednesday, aiming to ease tensions in one of the world’s most important geopolitical relationships.
“We have real differences with Beijing when it comes to maintaining a fair and level economic playing field and protecting your intellectual property,” the US president said.
He also stressed that the United States is committed to the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), a nascent trade agreement that has not progressed as quickly or effectively as the White House had hoped.
Canada would welcome the chance to join the U.S.-led trade initiative, but the necessary work to increase trade in the region is already well underway, International Trade Minister Mary said Wednesday. Ng.
That’s probably a good thing: trade deals are not politically popular in the United States right now, and Congress is timid heading into next year’s crucial elections.
Canada is already an enthusiastic partner in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a salvaged version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership that former U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned in 2017, Ms. Ng noted.
“We have commercial relationships and trade with many of these economies, including the United States,” she said.
“That’s why we welcome the opportunity to join IPEF when the time is right. But honestly, we’re already doing the work.”
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