PRIME MINISTER TRUDEAU: Well, it’s a pleasure to welcome Vice President Mike Pence to Ottawa for his first official visit — an opportunity for us to talk about all the different ways Canada and the United States have been working well together not just recently, but over generations.
Obviously, our primary points of conversation today will be on the ratification process for the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement. We’re very much looking forward to working together to make sure that the benefits of this agreement, which we took a fair bit of time and energy to get right, but it ended being, as Mike had predicted at a governors’ meeting in Rhode Island that I attended, a win-win-win for all three of our countries. And now the ratification process will be another opportunity for us to continue to work together and collaborate for the benefit of our citizens.
Also, we’re going to be talking about a number of different issues, including the challenges that we’re each having in terms of China. We’re, of course, very concerned with the Canadians who are being arbitrarily detained in China. And the U.S. has been very strong in its supportive words and its support in general on this issue, as we move forward in a way that keeps the interests of our citizens at the forefront of what we do as governments for our citizens.
VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: Well, thank you, Mr. Prime Minister. Thank you for this warm welcome to Ottawa. It is a great honor for me to be here representing the United States of America in my first visit to Canada as Vice President. And I thank you for the warm hospitality you extended to me and to my wife Karen, and by so many Canadians, as we made our way from the airport.
I spoke to the President on my way here, and he asked me to convey his greetings and great respect. President Trump and I believe that the relationship between the United States and Canada has never been stronger, and that is a reflection of his leadership, your leadership, and the bonds that have been forged through the generations by those who served in uniform, shoulder to shoulder.
But the principal reason for my meeting today is because have a historic opportunity to strengthen the economic ties between our two nations with the passage of the USMCA. I want to assure the people of Canada that your Prime Minister drove a hard bargain, as did our President. But we believe it could be a win-win-win agreement. And we think the USMCA, which will be the largest trade deal in the history of the United States, will create jobs and opportunities in our country. It will support growth in Canada and Mexico, and all across North America.
And I want to thank you personally for your engagement, for your leadership, and for the efforts that you made to bring us to this point.
I also want to thank you, Mr. Prime Minister, for the progress that you’re making here in ratification, in Canada. And I want to assure you that we’re making energetic efforts to move approval through the Congress of the United States this summer.
Beyond that, I look forward to our discussions. The United States has spoken out strongly about the arrest and detention of two Canadian citizens in China. Our relationship with China, both economic and strategic, is a real focus of both of our countries. And I look forward to our dialogue about that. But just know that we stand with you for the security of our country and yours, and for the interest of our citizens.
Also, I look forward to a discussion with the Prime Minister about the ongoing crisis in Venezuela. The United States was the first nation to recognize Interim President Juan Guaidó as the legitimate President of Venezuela. We’re grateful, Mr. Prime Minister, that Canada followed shortly thereafter. And we’re especially appreciative of Canada’s engagement, through the Lima Group, and continuing to stand for the restoration of democracy in Venezuela.
As we’ll discuss, I spoke with Interim President Juan Guaidó yesterday, and the world deserves to know that the people of Venezuela are suffering, and the United States and Canada, and nations across this hemisphere and across the world, will continue to stand together until freedom is restored.
There are many issues that we’ll discuss. I’m very honored by your hospitality and your kindness, but I’m especially grateful that you would take time today, on the day of Game 1 of the NBA Finals — (laughter) — that will take place in Toronto. I know the Toronto Raptors are making their first appearance in the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors. I think I know your loyalty, and I think you know mine. But we know it’s going to be a great playoff.
And I thank you again for the warm hospitality today, and look forward to our discussions.