U.S. President Donald Trump talks with Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a North Atlantic Treaty Organization Plenary Session at the NATO summit in Watford, Britain, Dec. 4, 2019. (Kevin Lamarque/REUTERS)

Trudeau discusses new NAFTA ratification with Trump

Prime Minister Justin spoke with U.S. President Donald Trump Friday to discuss the ratification of the new free trade agreement between Canada, the United States and Mexico, according to a readout of their phone call released by the Prime Minister’s Office.

Mexico was first to ratify the trade deal in June of 2019.

On Wednesday, Trump signed the implementation bill for the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, known as USMCA in the U.S. or CUSMA – or simply as the new NAFTA – in Canada.

That has left Canada to be last to ratify the crucial trade agreement.

Trudeau has said that ratification of the new NAFTA is the top priority for his minority government, a process that began almost on cue Wednesday as MPs voted on a motion to begin the process of debating a Canadian version of the bill in the House of Commons.

Trudeau has urged parliamentarians to “move resolutely and rapidly” in passing the implementation legislation of the trade agreement.

Trudeau and Trump also discussed the fate of two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who have been arbitrarily detained in China for more than a year and called for their immediate release.

“The Prime Minister thanked the President for the continuing support of the United States in this regard,” the readout said.

The two leaders also discussed the novel coronavirus global health emergency and measures being taken by both countries to protect the health and safety of their citizens, the statement said.

On Wednesday, the U.S. evacuated 195 Americans from Wuhan, the epicentre of the deadly coronavirus outbreak in China. The evacuees have been placed in a quarantine on a U.S. military base in California.

Canada has also chartered a passenger plane to fly 196 Canadians out of Wuhan.

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