Canadian PM Justin Trudeau has left Washington DC with assurances from President Donald Trump that he'll assist Canada in its rift with China.
Once ratified by the legislatures in all three countries, the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) will replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement.
Ottawa is seeking help from its allies, particularly the US, in its diplomatic showdown with Beijing. But after recent tensions between the USA and Mexico over immigration at the US southern border and tariffs on Mexican imports Trump threatened as a result, the future of the deal was uncertain. The U.S. -China meeting next week is focused on a trade deal. There is no timetable in place for the House to take up legislation to approve the deal, and the final text of the agreement is not yet settled.
"I really believe Nancy Pelosi and the House will approve it, I think the Senate will approve it rapidly", Trump said. "Canada is not going to get involved" other than to answer questions or explain the deal as requested, he said.
House Democrats are seen as the major potential obstacle.
Speaking to reporters as he and Trudeau sat in the Oval Office, Trump vowed to do whatever he could do to help Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig when he meets China's President Xi Jinping at next week's G20 leaders' summit in Japan, if Trudeau - as expected - asks for his help.
Vice-President Mike Pence has promised Trump would do just that, but Trudeau will find out today whether the mercurial president plans to follow through. The two of them then raised a T-shirt with the Raptors logo.
Trade will also be a big part of Trudeau's meeting with Trump as both countries look to ratify the new NAFTA, Trudeau said Wednesday.
Former diplomat Michael Kovring and entrepreneur Michael Spavor were detained separately by Chinese authorities on December 10, days after Canadian officials arrested Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese telecom giant Huawei, at the request of US authorities. The U.S. wants Meng Wanzhou to stand trial on charges of fraud related to allegations she lied to U.S. banks to get around sanctions on Iran.
"I think Nancy Pelosi is going to do the right thing", Trump predicted as he met with Trudeau in the Oval Office.
Trump retaliated by rescinding his endorsement of the joint G7 statement and as the USA president is prone to do, doubled down three days later in Singapore, suggesting Trudeau was dope for talking tough out of earshot. "Let us hope it lasts". "We're Canada's team", Nurse added.
Mr Trudeau made the gesture even though he had won a friendly wager between the two politicians on the outcome of the series.