Photographer: Ben Nelms/Bloomberg

Trudeau Hails Canada-U.S. Ties as Trump Notches Auto Victory

Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stressed his country’s existing strong relationship with the U.S. in a welcome message to congress amid questions about North American trade ties under the administration of Donald Trump.

Trudeau and his ambassador to Washington, David MacNaughton, issued a video congratulating and welcoming members of the incoming U.S. Congress, stressing Canada has no bigger partner than its neighbor to the south. The video, posted Dec. 30 on YouTube, was tweeted by Canada’s U.S. Embassy account Tuesday.

“There is no relationship in the entire world quite like the Canada-U.S. relationship,” Trudeau said in the video. “We’ve built an economic relationship that supports jobs in every congressional district. We’re the largest international customer for goods and services made in the U.S.A.”

The countries “grew up together and have overcome many shared challenges over the course of our history,” he added.

Trump pledged during the campaign to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Trudeau’s government has offered to open talks on. Trump’s Nafta protectionist streak won a victory Tuesday as Ford Motor Co. backed off a planed Mexico expansion, shortly after Trump criticized General Motors Co. for producing a version of a vehicle in Mexico.

Trudeau -- a pro-trade and pro-immigration leader -- has largely avoided direct criticisms of Trump before and after the U.S. election, pledging to work with whomever is in the White House.

“We know that we’re better off when we tackle challenges together,” MacNaughton said. “That’s why Canada stands beside you, ready to work with you to make all of our citizens’ lives better, safer and more prosperous.”

Trump also enters office amid a brewing trade fight over softwood lumber with Canada, as well as a dispute over gypsum board.