OTTAWA — President Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada began a one-day summit meeting Friday morning as Mr. Biden prepared to deliver an address to Parliament Hill and the two leaders were set to announce a new agreement aimed at confronting a migration surge at their borders.
The day of official meetings, speeches and a news conference will conclude with a gala before the president returns to Washington Friday night. Mr. Biden’s visit — his first to Canada as president — was delayed nearly two years, in part because of the Covid pandemic at the start of his term.
White House and Canadian officials said the interactions between the two leaders were expected to be warm and productive — a sharp turn from the often tense exchanges between Mr. Trudeau and former President Donald J. Trump. There was a widespread sense of relief in Canada when Mr. Biden succeeded Mr. Trump, a president who belittled Mr. Trudeau and whose trade policies threatened Canada’s economy and diminished good will toward the United States.
Still, Mr. Biden and Mr. Trudeau were expected to discuss some areas of potential tension, including America’s wish for Canada to spend more on defense and the question of whether Mr. Trudeau will agree to lead an international force to help stabilize Haiti, the troubled Caribbean nation where gangs have unleashed a wave of terror.
The migration agreement, which is set to be formally announced by the two leaders Friday afternoon, is expected to ease one area of potential disagreement as both Mr. Biden and Mr. Trudeau face increasing pressure to deal with unlawful immigration.
But after the tumultuous Trump years, which led to tariffs on key Canadian industries, divided the nations on international relations and threatened the continental free trade agreement that is the backbone of Canada’s economy, officials emphasized that the meeting will be more about showing how much Mr. Biden, Mr. Trudeau and their countries have in common.
Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, said the president will stress the bond between the two countries in his address to Parliament, which has been a tradition of American presidents for several decades.
“He will promote our shared domestic and foreign policy goals by highlighting the mutual benefits of the Inflation Reduction Act, the CHIPS and Science Act, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement for promoting prosperity and clean energy,” she said.
Mr. Biden is generally aligned with Mr. Trudeau on climate change and other environmental issues — a keystone of the prime minister’s political agenda. The two leaders are critical of China and firm supporters of Ukraine. And, while it will go unspoken publicly at least, Mr. Trudeau’s progressive politics share more in common with Democrats than Republicans.
A survey by Abacus Data, a public opinion polling firm based in Ottawa, found Canadians almost evenly divided between those who have a positive view of Mr. Biden, those with a negative view and those with no opinion at all about the president. That is a sharp contrast with Mr. Trump, who was overwhelmingly unpopular in Canadian polling, and with Mr. Obama, who was more popular than any Canadian politician in polls.
As is inevitable for leaders of two closely entwined economies, Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Biden are likely to go through the ritual on Friday of griping about some perceived trade injustice by each other’s country. That will include claims from American industry that Canadians’ softwood lumber is unfairly subsidized, a complaint that, in some forms, reaches back to the 19th century.
But in advance of the meeting, Canadian and United States officials downplayed the significance of current trade tensions and acknowledged that when it comes to the lumber dispute, the president may be largely powerless.
The issue has been longstanding, in part, because there are powerful interested parties in United States that lobby Congress, according to a Canadian official, who spoke on the condition he not be named discussing sensitive bilateral matters. The official downplayed expectations of any sort of resolution.
If, as anticipated, Mr. Biden brings up Canada’s limited military spending, a perennial complaint of all visiting presidents, Canadian officials indicated that he will be reminded of Canada’s commitment to spend 38.6 billion Canadian dollars on modernizing systems for the joint Canada-U. S. air and coastal military command known as NORAD. Canada also agreed to purchase 88 F-35 fighter jets from the United States.
For Mr. Biden, the short summit was another opportunity to put on display his efforts to rally the international community behind global issues, again using the power of the United States to confront challenges that straddle borders.
The migration deal reached by the two countries is one example. People in countries across the hemisphere are being increasingly displaced from their homes, reshaping global patterns of migration and putting pressure on countries like the United States and Canada.
John F. Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council, told American reporters this week that Mr. Biden and Mr. Trudeau had been discussing the issue — and trying to resolve disagreements — for months.
“Issues of migration — we are well aware of Canadian concerns,” Mr. Kirby said. “We have concerns of our own. And — I mean, it’s a shared hemisphere, a shared regional challenge.”
Mr. Biden’s speech to Parliament is also an opportunity to highlight his efforts to build a global coalition to stand with Ukraine against Russia’s invasion.
Canada has been an enthusiastic member of that effort, and officials said the president will praise Mr. Trudeau and his government for the provision of military and economic support for the Ukrainian people during the past year.
Mr. Biden will also underscore how much Canada and the United States are aligned in the fight against climate change. The president successfully pushed for passage of legislation to provide hundreds of billions of dollars worth of incentives on behalf of clean energy projects.
Mr. Trudeau has likewise invested significant political capital on the issue of global warming, pushing his country toward emissions reductions, and has implemented a national strategy to deal with the consequences of climate change.