Published: 2023-03-24 21:14
Last Updated: 2024-02-23 16:37
US President Joe Biden met Friday with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau amid reports that a deal has been struck on managing undocumented migration across the neighbors' long border.
Greeting Trudeau at Parliament Hill in Ottawa before addressing Canadian lawmakers, Biden told his counterpart "we're lucky, we have Canada at our north and despite occasional disagreements "there is no fundamental difference in the democratic values we share."
Trudeau said Canada has "no greater friend and ally than the United States" -- a message underlined in the gift to Biden of a chocolate bar made by Peace by Chocolate, a brand started by Syrian refugees.
Trade, Canada's anemic defense spending, and a potential international force to stabilize troubled Haiti were expected to headline the agenda.
There also appeared to be progress on another hot-button issue with a deal to clamp down on undocumented migration by asylum seekers passing through the United States into Canada.
According to US and Canadian media, Canada will be able to turn back illegal migrants at the Roxham Road crossing point on the frontier between New York state and Quebec.
The reports said that Canada has agreed in return to take in some 15,000 asylum seekers from Latin America through legal channels, a move that will ease the pressure on the southern US border. Radio-Canada reported that the deal would take effect Saturday.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre would not confirm the news but said "we will hear more about it from the president and the prime minister."
Only modest, if any, progress is expected on tensions over Biden's Inflation Reduction Act -- a massive program to subsidize and kick-start US-based development of electric vehicles and other clean energy products.
"We are looking for more inclusion in exactly those things," a senior Canadian government official told reporters.
"We want a North America that is globally competitive, so that our two economies, which are already so integrated, where so many businesses and jobs and supply chains rely on each other, can compete with the world and can be successful together," the official said.