Mnuchin to Wed Fiancee With Trudeau’s Finance Chief Among GuestsBy
Treasury secretary’s wedding set for Saturday in Washington
Morneau’s attendance comes amid full-court Canadian trade push
Through summits, bilateral meetings and a Broadway show, Canada has fanned out across the U.S. in a push to strengthen ties with President Donald Trump’s administration.
Add a wedding to the list.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and fiancee Louise Linton are due to be married Saturday in Washington, and Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau and wife Nancy McCain will be among the guests. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has also said he’ll go.
The Canadian connection comes after Mnuchin, Linton, Morneau and McCain gathered in Ottawa this month, the latest in a string of meetings between the former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executive and Morneau, a former pension executive.
While Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel have clashed with Trump, Justin Trudeau has played nice in the lead-up to trade skirmishes over lumber, steel and the overarching North American Free Trade Agreement. The Canadian prime minister has placed a particular focus on building personal ties, hosting Ivanka Trump for a Broadway show in March, while his ministers meet regularly with their U.S. counterparts.
Morneau and Mnuchin in particular have met half a dozen times, with the Canadian brokering a deal to water down trade language in Mnuchin’s first international forum as secretary. The treasury secretary struck an upbeat tone on trade talks in Ottawa this month, saying any Nafta revamp is good for Canada’s economy. “We have a very close relationship with Canada and will continue to do so,” he said. Trudeau himself has remained optimistic on Nafta, saying this week it will remain “a hugely important and successful trade deal.”
Nafta talks are due to begin as soon as August, with the U.S. side set to publish its negotiating objectives July 17. Trudeau and Trump are due to meet early next month at the G-20 leaders’ summit in Germany.
Trump’s top trade negotiator said this week there’s no deadline to reach a deal, after Trudeau’s ambassador to Washington said the Trump administration is warming to the idea of greater continental trade ties. “Increasingly, we’re talking about making North America more competitive on a global basis,” David MacNaughton said last week.
Morneau might have a chance to talk shop at Mnuchin’s wedding, which coincides with another step in a lingering trade dispute between the countries. A U.S. decision on a second round of duties on Canadian lumber is expected Friday, with an announcement due Monday. Ross has aspirations of a quick deal to avoid complicating Nafta talks, though Canada has said there’s no pact in sight.