Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pitches Canada tech jobs to San Francisco market

Lyanne Melendez Image
Friday, February 9, 2018
Canadian PM pitches Canada tech jobs to San Francisco market
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau brings what some call his "maple charm offensive" to San Francisco on Thursday with a dual agenda: Pitch Canada as a destination for American tech firms

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau kicked off his two day trip to California by conducting meetings with tech executives from Salesforce, Amazon, and Ebay.

VIDEO: Justin Trudeau talks tech with top execs in San Francisco

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rubbed shoulders with some of San Franisco's tech elite during his visit Thursday.

Trudeau is not hiding the fact that he is here to pitch Canada as a place where American tech firms can do business.

On Thursday, Trudeau said he's well aware that the heated debate in Congress over immigration may work in his favor. "We have access to market around the world, with the trade deals we are signing we have an educated work force that does incredible work," Trudeau said.

RELATED: Canadian PM arrives in Bay Area to meet with business leaders

In 2013, the Canadian government posted billboards to assure tech companies that Canada didn't have a Visa problem and promised low taxes.

Now, given President Trump's proposed immigration policies, these Bay Area companies are concerned they won't be able to hire the needed foreign workers. "There are more people who live in California than all of Canada, so immigration has always been seen as something essential to help populate Canada and help the economy forward," UC Berkeley Canadian studies program manager Elliot Smith said.

Trudeau was greeted by a large group of people waiting for him outside after he had just met with Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff. Both talked about diversity and equality. Benioff announced he will invest an additional $2 billion in Canada over the next five years. "It's been great for us to grow our goal of business there and we will continue to expand in Canada," Benioff said.

The prime minister also came to assure companies he still very much supports NAFTA, the 24-year-old trade agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. "We are engaged in negotiations that we will not do in public, but I can simpley reassure Canadians that I will always stand up for Canada and it interests with it come to NAFTA," Trudeau said.