Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and US President Barack Obama are set to meet for the first time in Washington DC on 10 March. Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau will participate in their first official visit to the White House and attend a state dinner, US Ambassador Bruce Heyman announced on 28 December.
The two heads of state met during the APEC summit in the Philippines in November, when Obama mentioned his hope the new prime minister would visit the White House in 2016.
"The visit will be an opportunity for the United States and Canada to deepen our bilateral relationship, which is one of the closest and most extensive in the world and is based on a shared history, common values, and a vast and intricate network of cultural, familial, and commercial ties," Heyman said in a statement. "The visit also is intended to advance cooperation on important bilateral and multilateral issues, such as energy and climate change, security, and the economic relationship."
The visit will occur just before the end of the parliamentary mandate for Canada's participation in the US-led coalition campaign against the Islamic State (Isis) in Syria and Iraq. The prime minister said that Canada will continue to participate in the fight against the terrorist group, but did not specify how and in what capacity.
Obama and Trudeau are also expected to discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal, which Canada agreed to during the election but has yet to ratify. Trudeau has yet to set a timeline for the ratification of the landmark trade package, CBCNews reported.
While the high-level meeting between the two leaders will be crucial, the state dinner is expected to generate substantial talk, The New York Times noted. The event typically accommodates 200 guests consisting of government officials and celebrities. Trudeau's visit will be the first White House state dinner in 19 years for a Canadian head of state. In 1997, then President Bill Clinton hosted then Prime Minister Jean Chrétien.