Trudeau to visit Trump in Washington on Monday

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2016 file photo, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa, Ontario. On Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, President Donald Trump will welcome Trudeau to the White House. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

TORONTO — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is to have his first meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington on Monday.

The White House said the leaders will discuss "strengthening the relationship" between their countries.

"Strong Canada-U.S. ties help the middle class in both our countries," Trudeau tweeted Thursday. "Monday, I'll meet @realDonaldTrump in D.C. to keep working for that goal."

Trump has said he wants to discuss his plan to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement, which involves the United States, Canada and Mexico. Trump has said NAFTA puts U.S. workers at a disadvantage.

The meeting is crucial for Canada as the country is heavily reliant on the U.S. for trade. More than 75 percent of Canada's exports go to the U.S. Of the 50 U.S. states, 35 count Canada as their leading export market. There are fears Canada could unintentionally be sideswiped as Trump negotiates with Mexico.

Trump's refugee and immigration ban may also come up in the discussions with Trudeau.

After Trump signed the executive order pausing entries to the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority nations, Trudeau tweeted that Canada welcomed people fleeing persecution, terrorism and war. Trudeau said "diversity is our strength."

Trudeau's top spokeswoman said then the prime minister was looking forward discussing Canada's immigration and refugee policy with Trump.

Three of Trudeau's top cabinet ministers already have been meeting with U.S. officials in Washington.

Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau said from Washington on Thursday that there's always an opportunity to improve on NAFTA.

"Those who are here understand that this is a key relationship we have with the United States and the figures are there to back that up," Morneau said.

Canada's foreign minister warned the Trump administration on Wednesday that her country will retaliate if the U.S. applies new tariffs. Chrystia Freeland visited U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday after meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan and Sens. John McCain and Bob Corker on Tuesday.

Canadian Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan met with U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis on Monday.

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