COVID-19, climate change among top priorities for Trudeau-Biden meeting today

Canada World

The White House has released a fact sheet in advance of this afternoon’s virtual meeting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Joe Biden.

This is Biden’s first bilateral meeting as president.

The fact sheet describes plans for a “road map” for progress in areas of mutual interest, including COVID-19, climate change, defence and social justice. It makes no mention of certain Canadian priorities, such as procuring more vaccine doses, freeing Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig from imprisonment in China or securing an exemption to Biden’s Buy American plan.

Experts want Ottawa to push hard for an exemption so that Canada isn’t harmed by Biden’s plan to prioritize U.S. businesses for federal infrastructure and procurement.

The fact sheet lays out six priority areas, including beating back the pandemic, rebuilding the economy on both sides of the border, and plans for a high-level climate ministerial meeting to align efforts to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

Other areas of focus include improving social diversity and inclusion, expanding co-operation on continental defence and a modernized NORAD, and restoring a collective commitment to global institutions like NATO and the WTO.

It also indicates plans to resurrect the North American Leaders’ Summit — a trilateral meeting of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, which hasn’t been held since 2016.

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