Canada PM visit to White House, State Dinner planned for March

Story highlights

  • The White House announced Monday that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will visit Washington on March 10
  • Obama and Justin Trudeau met ‎for the first time at a summit of Pacific leaders in November

Honolulu (CNN)President Barack Obama will deliver a lavish welcome to Canada's liberal new leader at the first state dinner of 2016, the White House said Monday.‎

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will visit Washington on March 10, ‎the White House said. It will be his first official visit to the United States since assuming office this fall. ‎
The White House said the visit "is intended to focus on economic, climate, security and border matters."
    Obama and Trudeau met ‎for the first time at a summit of Pacific leaders in November, touting their two nations' close bonds and reaffirming areas of agreement even amid rifts on issues like energy and the battle against ISIS.
    Like his predecessor, Trudeau was a proponent of the Keystone XL oil pipeline extension that Obama rejected earlier this year. And he campaigned on a pledge to reduce Canada's role in the anti-ISIS coalition led by the United States.
    Those issues aside, Obama regards Trudeau as a like-minded liberal with whom he hopes to foster close ties -- both political and personal.
    "We're going to have Justin down to the White House, hopefully, so we can have a more extensive, expanded bilateral," Obama said after his first meeting with the Canadian prime minister in November. "And I'm sure Michelle is going to want a visit with Canada's new First Lady."
    Trudeau was similarly effusive about the budding friendship, saying his wife Sophie "is going to be very excited to hear about Michelle's garden because she has started a vegetable garden as well in our backyard."
    In an interview with the New York Times Magazine, Trudeau recalled taking Obama's congratulatory phone call on the night he was elected earlier this year.
    "He said that seeing my family on TV on election night reminded him of his election in 2008 with his family. I'm looking forward to having a beer with him," he said. ‎
    Protocol sticklers will note that Trudeau isn't his nation's head-of-state -- Queen Elizabeth II holds that title. But the White House is nonetheless billing March's event a "state dinner." All the expected trappings -- including the food, entertainment, and guest list -- have yet to be announced. ‎