Trudeau skipping Trump summit with Mexican president

MEXICO CITY/OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will not visit Washington with Mexico’s president this week to celebrate a new North American trade deal, his office said Monday, after Canada raised concerns over potential U.S. aluminum tariffs.

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In a Monday morning phone call, Trudeau told Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador he hoped the talks with U.S. President Donald Trump would be successful.

Lopez Obrador, who had urged Trudeau to join him, is due to meet Trump at the White House on Wednesday on his first trip outside of Mexico since taking office 19 months ago.

Trudeau will be attending Cabinet meetings and a sitting of parliament in Ottawa, his office said in a statement on Monday.

“We wish the United States and Mexico well at Wednesday’s meeting,” the statement said.

Trudeau last week said he was not sure about attending, citing tensions over possible U.S. tariffs on Canadian aluminum. Trudeau also flagged concerns over the novel coronavirus.

In their call, Trudeau “expressed regret” to Lopez Obrador that he could not go to Washington, Trudeau’s office said.

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Their discussion also touched on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade deal that went into effect last week, efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic, and investment in renewable energy infrastructure.

The two leaders expressed interest in meeting in person, Trudeau’s office said, without providing further detail.

Lopez Obrador said Trudeau was invited to Mexico, and after their call announced that the Canadian prime minister had agreed to visit the country “as soon as possible.”

Lopez Obrador said he will undergo a coronavirus test before leaving Mexico on Tuesday, and was prepared to have another in the United States if necessary. Lopez Obrador said he plans to return to Mexico from Washington on Thursday.

Reporting by Dave Graham; Additional reporting by Steve Scherer in Ottawa and Daina Beth Solomon in Mexico City; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Jonathan Oatis