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Canada's Trudeau to meet Amazon CEO Bezos during U.S. visit
February 7, 2018 6:24 pm|Comments (0)

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will meet Amazon.com (AMZN.O) Chief Executive Jeff Bezos on Thursday during a tour of three major U.S. cities this week to bolster support for the North American Free Trade Agreement, which is being renegotiated.

Amazon is in the process of identifying a location to build a massive new second headquarters and has shortlisted 20 cities, including Toronto, the only non-U.S. city to make the list.

Trudeau will meet Bezos in San Francisco, the government said on Wednesday.

During his trip, Trudeau will also meet with other technology executives, including eBay Inc (EBAY.O) chief executive officer Devin Wenig.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos gives some closing comments after opening the new Amazon Spheres with some help from Alexa during an opening event at Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle, Washington, U.S., January 29, 2018. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

“The point of those meetings is to portray Canada as a good place to invest … and to explore opportunities related to job growth with those prominent business leaders who may be interested in expanding their operations in Canada,” said spokesman Cameron Ahmad.

Ahmad declined to comment specifically on the meeting with Bezos.

Amazon’s decision on where to locate its second headquarters is expected this year. The tech giant has promised to invest $ 5 billion and create 50,000 jobs in the city it chooses. The 19 U.S. cities on the list include Chicago, Boston and New York.

Trudeau’s trip also comes as Canada and Mexico strive to address U.S. demands for NAFTA reform, with the fate of the trade pact uncertain. Last week, Trudeau reiterated a tough stance, saying Canada could walk away if he was not happy with talks to modernize the agreement.

Trudeau is due to give a speech in Chicago on Wednesday to sell the merits of bilateral trade.

Reporting by Leah Schnurr and David Ljunggren; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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Justin Trudeau Sends an HQ2 Love Letter to Amazon
October 20, 2017 12:02 am|Comments (0)

No tax breaks, but Canada offers a valuable perk: Universal healthcare.

Canadian cities are going all out to woo Amazon’s second headquarters, including a “Dear Jeff” letter from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the company’s CEO Jeff Bezos.

In his letter, which comes on the final day of a competition for cities to make their case to Amazon, Trudeau reminds Bezos that “it is in one other that Canada and the United States have found their closest friend and ally.”

If that’s not enough to tell Bezos where Amazon’s loyalties should lie, Trudeau adds “[W]e enjoy the longest, most peaceful and mutually beneficial relationship of any two countries in the world.”

The Prime Minister did not, however, specify exactly where in Canada that Amazon should set up shop, though most of the country’s major cities—including Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary—have put their hat in the ring.

Amazon set off a frenzy among city governments this summer when it announced it was seeking to open a second headquarters outside of Seattle, and could create as many as 50,000 high paying jobs in coming years.

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As the competition came to a close on Thursday for cities to make their case, one research firm cited Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, New York, and Washington D.C.—but not one of the Canadian ones—as the leading candidates.

Nonetheless, Trudeau’s letter makes some strong economic arguments, along with the sentimental ones, for Amazon to make its second home north of the border.

“Canadians enjoy a universal health care system and a robust public pension plan which help support our excellent quality of life and lower costs for employers,” he states, while also talking up the country’s universities and policies to attract high-skilled immigrants.

Trudeau’s letter also appeared to include a subtle swipe at the nativist policies of the Trump Administration:

“As the first country in the world to adopt a policy of multiculturalism, we have shown time and again that a country can be stronger not in spite of its differences but because of them. Diversity is a fact but inclusion is a choice.”

One other notable feature of the Canadian cities’ pitch is they don’t offer tax breaks, which have been a controversial feature of the bids of a number of U.S. cities. Instead, the suitors have Canadian have emphasized the savings Amazon would incur from Canada’s public health system.

You can read Trudeau’s letter in full here.

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