Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his 'disappointment' with Joe Biden's decision to cancel the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline in the US President's first call to a foreign leader on Friday.
Biden and Trudeau spoke on a number of topics and made plans to continue the conversation next month, Ottawa and Washington said in separate statements.
Biden also spoke with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Friday and they discussed ex-president Donald Trump administration's 'draconian immigration policies.'
According to the US and Canada, Biden and Trudeau discussed Biden's decision to cancel the permit for the pipeline, a project fiercely opposed by environmentalists but backed by Ottawa.
Upon taking office on Wednesday, Biden rescinded a permit for the pipeline via executive order, blocking completion of the project started almost a decade ago.
Trudeau had previously said it was 'an important project for us,' citing continental energy security and jobs, and reacted with disappointment Friday over its cancellation.
'The prime minister raised Canada's disappointment with the United States' decision on the Keystone XL pipeline,' Trudeau's office said in its statement, but added that the prime minister emphasized the 'important economic and energy security benefits of our bilateral energy relationship.'
In their private conversation, Biden told Trudeau that by issuing the order he was following through on a campaign pledge to stop construction of the pipeline, a senior Canadian government official told The Associated Press. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private conversation between the nations' leaders.
The White House said in a statement that Biden, during the conversation, acknowledged Trudeau's disappointment with his Keystone decision.
The 1,210-mile pipeline, starting in 2023, was to transport up to 830,000 barrels of oil a day from the Alberta oil sands to Nebraska and then through an existing system to refineries in coastal Texas.
During the conversation, which Canada said lasted approximately 30 minutes, the two leaders also covered everything from the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to the closure of the US-Canada border since March, to environmental protections.
Trudeau and Biden made plans to talk again soon, with Canada leaving open the possibility of a virtual or even in-person discussion, while the White House said only that 'the two leaders agreed to speak again in a month.'
The discussions, the Canadian statement said, would 'advance the important work of renewing the deep and enduring friendship between Canada and the United States.'
Also on Friday, Biden asserted in a phone call with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador that he would be reversing the Trump administration's 'draconian immigration policies.'
Adding to the growing list of policies rejected by his administration, Biden used the call as a opportunity to 'review bilateral cooperation on a range of bilateral and regional issues,' according to a readout of the call shared by the White House.
'The President outlined his plan to reduce migration by addressing its root causes, increasing resettlement capacity and lawful alternative immigration pathways, improving processing at the border to adjudicate requests for asylum, and reversing the previous administration's draconian immigration policies,' the readout states, not mentioning Trump by name.
The readout added that the two leaders agreed to work closely together to 'stem the flow of irregular migration to Mexico and the United States,' as well as work to help promote development in the Northern Triangle of Central America.
Mexico's Lopez Obrador wrote on Twitter that his discussion with Biden had been 'friendly and respectful.'
'We talked on issues related to migration, #COVID19 and cooperation on development and well-being. Everything indicates that relations will be good for the well-being of our peoples and nations,' Lopez Obrador said.
The three countries form the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and binds nearly half a billion consumers in a single market that comprises about 27 percent of global GDP, in a region where trade hit $1.2 trillion in 2019 - though that was before the coronavirus pandemic hit.
Trudeau said prior to the call that the new administration represents an opportunity to turn the page on a challenging relationship with the US under Trump, who once labelled Trudeau as 'dishonest' and 'meek.'
'We are truly beginning a new era of friendship,' he said.
The White House said the pair's Friday phone call highlighted 'the strategic importance of the US-Canada relationship' while 'reinvigorating our bilateral cooperation on an ambitious and wide-ranging agenda.'