Canadian prime minister had no plans to lecture Trump on Syrian refugees

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gestures during an interview with Bloomberg television in New York March 17, 2016.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gestures during an interview with Bloomberg television in New York March 17, 2016. Reuters/Brendan McDermid

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and US President Donald Trump had their first meeting in the White House on Monday. Amid issues concerning Trump’s travel ban, Trudeau said he does not intend to lecture him on Syrian refugees.

The Canadian leader said the last thing that his countrymen would expect him to do is to lecture another country on how they prefer to govern. He also stressed that both countries, the US and Canada, have always been strong allies although they have different approaches sometimes.

Trudeau said they will continue their policy of openness to immigration and refugees. "But there are times when we have differed in our approaches. And that's always been done firmly and respectfully," he said.

One of Trudeau’s agenda before his visit to Washington is to maintain Canada’s close political and economic links with the US. During the administration of former US President Barack, the Canadian prime minister had forged a close relationship with the US. Canadians trade with the US for about 25 percent of their country’s gross domestic product.

As for Trump’s administration, many of his policies and plans are chilling for Canadians. These include his call to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. “It is a real concern for many Canadians because we know that our economy is very dependent on our bonds with the United States,” Trudeau said.

The US president is specifically not very much okay with the trade with China and Mexico, which are also members of the North American agreement. The New York Times notes that Trump has accused both countries of taking advantage of the United States.

Trump did not answer whether he sees Canada as a fair trader, but called relationship with the country “outstanding." He suggested that he does not anticipate deep changes in that relationship.

Much like his greeting last week to Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump has greeted the Canadian leader warmly. The leaders shook hands and patted each other’s shoulder when Trudeau arrived at the White House.

They have also discussed about setting up a cross-border council to advance women into executive roles and support entrepreneurship. Chief executives of companies from Canada and the United States have joined their discussion, along with Trump’s daughter, Ivanka.

Meanwhile, Canadian business leaders are happy about how the first meeting of Trudeau and Trump has been. “On the whole, this was a good day,” said John Manley, the president and chief executive of the Business Council of Canada.