Obama, Trudeau mark better Canada ties with climate, trade accords

President Barack Obama and new Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday ended a frosty period in bilateral ties by agreeing to tackle climate change and strive to settle a long-lasting trade dispute over Canadian softwood lumber exports.

The neighboring countries are traditionally close but relations had soured under former prime minister Stephen Harper, who hectored the White House in a failed bid to push through U.S. approval for the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Obama and Trudeau, whose Liberals came to power last November promising better cooperation with Washington, pledged joint steps to fight global warming, including cutting methane emissions from oil and gas operations.

Obama, Trudeau mark better Canada ties with climate
U.S. President Barack Obama (R) meets with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington March 10, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The countries committed to cutting emissions of methane by 40 to 45 percent below 2012 levels by 2025, to take steps to fight climate change in the Arctic, and to speed development of green technologies.

They also told officials to look for solutions to a lengthy dispute over exports of Canadian softwood lumber, as well as promising to make it easier for goods and people to cross the long shared border.