justin trudeau
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau travels to Washington Feb. 13, 2017, to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump. Above, Trudeau speaks in the House of Commons in Ottawa, Feb. 8, 2017. Chris Wattie/Reuters

Trade between the United States and Canada, totaling $541 billion annually, likely will be the main topic when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with U.S. President Donald Trump Monday at the White House ahead of a trip to Europe and an address to the European Parliament.

Trudeau had a warm relationship with former President Barack Obama, a close relationship dubbed “dudeplomacy,” but which netted Canada virtually no additional benefits.

Trump has said he wants to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement to win provisions more favorable to U.S. industry.

A White House statement issued Thursday said the two leaders “look forward to a constructive conversation on strengthening the relationship between our two nations.”

Trudeau has been preparing for his Washington visit by phoning other world leaders. He spoke Saturday with British Prime Minister Theresa May, who already has met with Trump, to seek advice and earlier discussed the U.S. president with French President Francois Hollande, the Canadian Press reported. Contents of the calls were not made public.

Trump has been vocal about his opposition to NAFTA and other trade deals he said have given the United States the short end of the stick.

“For too long, Americans have been forced to accept trade deals that put the interests of insiders and the Washington elite over the hard-working men and women of this country,” the White House said in a statement withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

“President Trump is committed to renegotiating NAFTA. If our partners refuse a renegotiation that gives American workers a fair deal, then the President will give notice of the United States’ intent to withdraw from NAFTA.”

Both Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland have visited Washington in advance of Trudeau’s trip. Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan also has made the trip south to meet with his counterpart, Defense Secretary John Mattis.

Freeland, following meetings with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and House Speaker Paul Ryan, said Canada won’t shy away from a fight but strongly opposes tariffs, Bloomberg reported.

Trudeau tweeted last week the U.S. and Canada need to work together to strengthen the middle class.

Kevin O’Leary, chairman of O’Shares ETFs, said Canadians have a lot riding on Trudeau’s meeting.

Any changes to NAFTA could affect the auto industry because of the interwoven supply chains. Canada is also the biggest supplier of foreign oil to the U.S. The two countries have been embroiled in a fight over softwood lumber for years.

"We've found [our U.S. counterparts] to be interested, engaged, understanding the depth of the relationship and the importance of the relationship to the United States and Canada, so we want to build on that," Morneau told reporters, speaking at Georgetown University.

"I think Americans intuitively understand the strength of the relationship."

In a visit to Iqaluit, Canada, Thursday, Trudeau said he is focused on “creating jobs and opportunity for Canadian citizens through the continued close integration on both sides of the border,” the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

Gerry Ritz, a Conservative member of Parliament, said Trudeau should avoid a sharp confrontation with Trump, despite encouragement from social media.

"Listen a lot, smile and nod," Ritz advised. "Make a point if it's there to be made, but don't go overboard on pushing back. This is not the time or place to do that."

However, Nathan Cullen, a New Democratic Party member of Parliament, said trying just to placate Trump is not an option.

"I think he has to speak truth to power," Cullen said. "Simply lying down and hoping that he doesn't notice us is not the strategy to use with Mr. Trump. We've seen people try to placate him in the past — other Republicans, Democrats — it doesn't work.

"This man has proven himself to be a bully repeatedly in his private and his political dealings. How do you deal with a bully? You simply have to be firm with them."

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