Published: Sun, February 11, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau talks business with Bay Area tech leaders

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau talks business with Bay Area tech leaders

Local coverage of the prime minister's visit to California has focused on U.S. President Donald Trump's talk and actions on immigration, a particularly acute issue in this "blue" state on the border with Mexico and home to the largest population of Canadians outside of Canada, some 150,000 people. Trudeau is trying to garner support for the North American Free Trade Agreement and promote Canada as a country that welcomes US tech companies setting up offices and hiring locals.

"One thing that the Trudeau government is brilliant at is its messaging".

The pro-trade message Canada is touting in the United States will resonate with everyday Americans and their political class, even if the words get obscured by the breaking news of the day, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says. On Saturday, Trudeau will join the mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti for a media event before traveling home to Canada. Benioff is hosting a roundtable with Trudeau and other business leaders to discuss a topic that he has been vocally championing: the importance of diversity and equality, the company said in a statement.

"That $2 billion is going to create a lot of great Canadian jobs, thousands of them", Trudeau said.

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The prime minister, speaking in a building named for the president who signed the landmark Canada-U.S. free trade deal, conceded that the accord being renegotiated had to be updated to help people left behind by free trade and a technological revolution. He also met with Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, who's considering locations for a second headquarters.

"Canada is a country that is open to immigration because we have a strong immigration system that Canadians rely on", Trudeau said.

With the next round of talks over the trade pact set to begin in Mexico later this month, Mr Trudeau used the speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library to cast the deal as part of a long history between the two countries that has been beneficial for both. He was asked about a USA push for Canada to raise the de minimis threshold, in effect allowing more online shopping to be done tax-free - a move that would help Amazon.

"Technology companies have been increasingly looking to Canada to lay down roots", Trudeau said, referencing the recent openings of artificial intelligence research labs by companies like Google (goog), Microsoft (msft), and Facebook (fb) as examples.

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Trudeau, who is on a four-day trip to the USA, will travel about 40 miles to visit Los Angeles on Friday.

Trudeau said Canada has a stake in a thriving US economy.

The sixth round of North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has ended in Montreal on Monday with a little "progress".

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