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World
14 Feb 2017

Trudeau walks a diplomatic tight rope during Trump meeting

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau visited the White House to meet US President Donald Trump.

Trudeau hoped to secure reassurances from Trump on the future of Canada-US ties, especially on the economic front.

Trudeau differs with Trump on a wide range of issues, most significantly on immigration.

Despite this, Trump said relations between both countries are "outstanding" but in need of a "tweaking".

In context

Trump's first meeting with Canada's Trudeau

Immigration

Trudeau looks on as Trump defends immigration ban

During a joint news conference with Trudeau, Trump offered an unapologetic defence of his immigration ban, saying America "cannot let the wrong people in."

Trudeau made it clear that he held a different view on immigration but that it wasn't his place to come to the US and "lecture" Trump.

Trudeau also touted Canada's acceptance of tens of thousands of Syrian refugees.

Trudeau on immigration

"There have been times where we have differed in our approaches and that has always been done firmly and respectfully," Trudeau said. "The last thing Canadians expect is for me to come down and lecture another country on how they [Americans] choose to govern themselves."

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Trade

Trump says he has trade problems with Mexico, not Canada

Trump said both leaders would work hard to strengthen bilateral trade relations.

Trump said he would be "tweaking" bilateral trade relations with Canada in light of his pledge to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

He emphasized that America's trading problems were less with Canada and mainly centred around Mexico, the third country part of NAFTA.

Trudeau: Canadian economy "very dependent" relationship with US

Over 75% of Canada's exports go across its border into America. Canada accounts for 18% of the America's overall exports. Nearly nine million American jobs depend on Canadian trade and investment.

Obama and Trudeau

Trudeau was close to his fellow liberal Obama

Trudeau, who has a liberal worldview, was seen as very close to Trump's predecessor Barack Obama. Both leaders met often and had much in common ideologically.

Obama would counsel his younger ally Trudeau on how to proceed with his progressive agenda.

Despite this, both Trudeau and Trump worked hard to focus on their few similarities and neighbourly bonds during their first face-to-face meeting.

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