Washington, DC – US Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson hosted a working dinner with US Secretary of Defense James Mattis for Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and Canadian Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan, at the Department of State in Washington, DC tonight (May 15, 2017). The dinner was closed press but the US State Department shared a couple of pictures from the amicable environs of the event.
“The Honorable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Honorable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defense, will visit Washington, DC, on May 15 and 16, 2017. Minister Freeland and Minister Sajjan will have meetings with Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State, James Mattis, Secretary of Defense, and Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce, as well as with important stakeholders, to discuss Canadian priorities and cooperation between the two countries,” according to a Canadian government statement.
“Canada and the United States enjoy one of the closest, most peaceful and mutually beneficial relationships of any two countries in the world,” the statement noted.
During their two-day visit to the US capital, Freeland and Sajjan might also touch on the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), trade disputes over softwood lumber and dairy, as well as Canada’s defense spending.
With the swearing in of the new US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the chances of a meeting are bright so that the NAFTA pre-negotiations can start, according to reliable sources.
The upcoming NATO Leaders Summit on May 25, in Brussels, Belgium is expected to see Canada’s long-awaited defense policy review by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when he meets with allies at the summit. Both Freeland and Sajjan are also expected to give policy reviews there.