Trump, Trudeau mend fences at White House meeting

US President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joke around at a 2017 meeting in Washington, but they fell out badly at the G7 last year (AFP Photo/SAUL LOEB)

Washington (AFP) - President Donald Trump hosts his Canadian counterpart Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday to mend fences after last year's diplomatic meltdown and to push the still un-ratified North American free trade deal.

The two men have had a rocky relationship since Trump walked out of a G7 summit in Quebec last June, but are keen for the trade deal, known as the USMCA, to kick in soon.

Mexico's legislature ratified the accord, which was struck last year, on Wednesday. Canada has yet to follow suit but the real question mark hangs over the US Congress.

Democrats, who control the lower house, have expressed concerns over worker protections and other parts of the USMCA, which replaces the previous regional agreement NAFTA.

While Trump has repeatedly called on legislators to give their approval, his relations with Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives are at rock bottom.

Trudeau, who faces federal elections in October, clashed repeatedly with Trump last year, with the two countries briefly engaging in a trade war over steel and aluminum.

At the 2018 G7 hosted by Canada, Trump left early without signing the joint declaration and called Trudeau "weak."