Prime Minister Trudeau Heads To U.S. For Meetings With Amazon, eBay and Others

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is scheduled to meet with the heads of major American companies such as Amazon and eBay during a four day trade and investment trip to the United States this week.

As talks aimed at revitalizing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) drag on, Prime Minister Trudeau is setting off on another trade and investment mission to the U.S. where he will meet with both U.S. lawmakers and business leaders as he continues to sell the merits of free trade and investing north of the border.

However, it is Prime Minister Trudeau`s meeting this Thursday with Jeff Bezos, Chief Executive Officer of Amazon, that is generating the most media interest as the technology giant is in the middle of its search for a second headquarters and the City of Toronto is on the short list.

Prime Minister Trudeau is under pressure to make a strong pitch on Toronto's behalf during his face-to-face meeting with Mr. Bezos. Amazon plans to spend up to US$5 billion on its second headquarters, which it says will create 50,000 new high-paying technology, sales and administrative jobs.

More than 200 cities in Canada and the U.S. bid for the facility, but Toronto is the only Canadian city still being seriously considered for the new location. Canada's largest city is up against several major U.S. hubs, including Boston, New York and Chicago. However, the Prime Minister`s Office has been downplaying the meeting with Mr. Bezos, saying it is just one meeting during Prime Minister Trudeau's trip south of the border.

Over the next four days, the Canadian Prime Minister will visit Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles to promote NAFTA and the importance of the Canada-U.S. trading relationship. The trip comes a few days after Prime Minister Trudeau issued some harsh rhetoric on the NAFTA negotiations at a town hall meeting in British Columbia, going so far as to say that Canada is willing to `walk away` from the trade deal.

The latest U.S. sales pitch begins in Chicago on Wednesday, where Prime Minister Trudeau will deliver a keynote speech at the University of Chicago and participate in a discussion with David Axelrod, former U.S. President Barack Obama's Chief Election Strategist.

Before the event, he will sit down with several political leaders, including Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who also served as President Obama's first Chief of Staff. Prime Minister Trudeau will shift his focus to the technology sector on Thursday as he heads to San Francisco, where he will meet with Mr. Bezos. But he also will sit down with other influential business leaders, including the CEOs of online shopping giant eBay and pharmaceutical developer Amgen. The technology sector leg of the visit wraps up with a dinner at the Business Council to discuss new investment opportunities in Canada.

Prime Minister Trudeau ends his trip with two days in Los Angeles. While there, he will deliver a second keynote address — this time to a primarily Republican audience at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Centre for Public Affairs.