WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden kicked off the North American Leaders Summit, on Thursday, with a one-on-one meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, calling their two countries’ relationship one of the easiest in the early going of his presidency.
But as Biden and Trudeau sat down for talks, he also confirmed that the two leaders would discuss their differences over proposed electric vehicle tax incentives in his massive social services and climate bill that is causing concern in Ottawa.
“We’re going to talk about that,” Biden said. “It hasn’t even passed yet in the House.”
Biden was meeting later with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and the three leaders were also to meet together as they revived a near-annual summit that went dormant during President Donald Trump’s time in office. Trudeau and López Obrador were also meeting separately with Vice President Kamala Harris.
A provision in the US spending plan would offer American consumers a $7,500 tax credit if they buy electric vehicles through 2026. The following year, only purchases of electric vehicles made in the US would qualify for the credit. The base credit would go up by $4,500 if the vehicle was made at a US plant that operates under a union-negotiated collective bargaining agreement.
The union provision has sparked pushback from some non-union shops and lawmakers. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that Biden “is pretty committed to the bill providing good-paying union jobs.”
Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland on Wednesday called the incentive a clear violation of an updated trade agreement among the three countries that aimed to protect US jobs and products made in North America.