(MENAFN - Gulf Times) Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, keen to take advantage of improving ties with President Donald Trump, will on Thursday press the U.S. leader and other senior policymakers on the need to quickly ratify a new North American trade pact.
Mexico's Senate this week approved the new deal, known as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), and Trudeau says Canada is ready to follow suit. But the pact faces uncertainty in the U.S. Congress amid resistance from some senior Democrats.
U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday outlined several key impediments to congressional approval of the deal.
Trudeau will meet Trump in the White House at 12 p.m. EDT (1600 GMT). The Canadian prime minister has separate meetings scheduled with Pelosi and Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
"We will be stressing to them our belief that the treaty needs to be ratified as soon as possible," a Canadian government source said on Thursday, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The USMCA, which is designed to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, is crucial to Mexico and Canada, which both send more than 75 percent of their goods exports to the United States.
Relations between Trudeau and Trump have steadily improved since hitting a low point in June 2018 when the U.S. president called the Canadian leader weak and dishonest.
The two nations joined Mexico in signing the USMCA in November. Last month, the United States removed tariffs on Canadian aluminum and steel.
Trudeau will also be seeking Trump's support to press for the release of two Canadian citizens charged with espionage in China. They were detained after Canada arrested a Chinese telecommunications executive on a U.S. warrant in December.
Trudeau has not had a formal meeting with Pelosi since she officially became the House speaker in early January.
"We want to relay our feeling that this is a stronger deal than it was before," the government source said.
Pelosi will also - in theory at least - be giving Trudeau some chocolate and wine as part of a bet on who would win the NBA championship. The Toronto Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors, who come from California. Pelosi represents a California district in the House.
In the latest chapter of a two-year campaign aimed at charming U.S. policymakers, Canada's ambassador to Washington threw a high-profile reception for Trudeau on Wednesday night. Attendees included Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.