As tense NAFTA talks continue, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is preparing to make a three-city trip to the United States next month to explore new business opportunities and strengthen bilateral ties.
Trudeau will stop in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago from Feb. 7-10.
Today's announcement comes ahead of the sixth round of North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiation talks, which start Tuesday in Montreal.
Trudeau's U.S. itinerary includes delivering remarks at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute in Simi Valley, Calif., to underscore "the interconnectedness of the Canada-U.S. economies," according to a release from the PMO.
In San Francisco, he's scheduled to meet with local business leaders and entrepreneurs to "explore opportunities for increased collaboration between our countries."
In Chicago, the prime minister will meet with key officials and deliver a speech at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. He will highlight the importance of public service, and "how it can contribute to a prosperous middle class and stronger Canada-U.S. economic and political ties."
Push to 'grow the middle class'
"Canadians and Americans know we are all better off when we work together to grow the middle class, and create more opportunities for people on both sides of the border," Trudeau said in a statement. "I look forward to meeting with government and business leaders in the United States again to explore new opportunities for collaboration and growth, so we can build a more prosperous future for people in both countries."
NAFTA modernization talks formally kicked off in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 16, 2017, with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer saying the agreement had "fundamentally failed" Americans and needed a major overhaul, not minor tweaks.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly blamed NAFTA for job losses and trade deficits in the U.S. and has threatened to withdraw from the tri-lateral trade pact.
In an interview this week with The Canadian Press, Trudeau said he remains optimistic a deal can be struck that benefits Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, and that there's a good chance negotiations will result in what he calls a "win-win-win."
Last week, a Reuters report that the Canadian government was increasingly expecting Trump to terminate NAFTA caused the dollar and markets to fall.
Trump later told the Wall Street Journal that he would be "a little bit flexible" with the timeline because Mexico will be holding a presidential election later this year.