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Economy10 hours ago (Jan 29, 2021 08:20PM ET)

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Yellen holds a news conference in Washington

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and her Canadian counterpart on Friday underscored the importance of working closely together on economic policy, national security and climate change, the governments said in separate statements.

Yellen spoke with Canadian Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland about a range of issues, including efforts to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of the bilateral trade relationship, Treasury said in a statement.

Yellen also noted her interest in working closely with Freeland to advance mutual priorities through the Group of Seven advanced economies, the G20 and other international fora, it said.

The two officials are the first women to serve as finance minister and treasury secretary in their respective countries.

Their call came a week after President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-biden-canada/biden-canadas-trudeau-to-meet-next-month-collaborate-on-vaccines-medical-supplies-idUSKBN29R29A by phone last week – just days after Biden’s inauguration – and agreed to join forces to combat the coronavirus in North America.

The two neighboring countries have one of the world’s large bilateral trading relationships, and the two leaders share similar views on many issues, but Trudeau has expressed concerns about Biden’s move to scrap a permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the United States, and a new “Buy American” policy that Ottawa fears could hurt Canadian firms.

Freeland also raised those issues in the call with Yellen, her office said on Friday.

“The Deputy Prime Minister outlined her concerns about the ‘Buy American’ policy and stressed the deeply integrated, interdependent nature of North American supply chains that benefit both countries,” it said in a statement.

She also highlighted the importance of energy workers to Canada’s economy and reiterated Canada’s disappointment with the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline, it added.

The two officials also discussed the importance of fair international digital taxation, continued cross-border trade, and “collective, bold action on climate change,” Freeland’s office said.

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