April 28th, 2017

Trudeau cites strong ties between Canada, Italy as he meets with Italian PM

By The Canadian Press on April 21, 2017.

Italy's Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, left, meets with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his office on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, April 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni are on Parliament Hill discussing the upcoming G7 summit in Italy and a broad range of international issues.

Trudeau welcomed Gentiloni to his Centre Block office and thanked him for his support on the Canada EU free trade deal.

He also mentioned the “tremendously strong” Italian community in Canada and the “tremendously strong” trade ties between the two countries.

“On a broad range of things, we find ourselves tremendously aligned,” Trudeau said during a brief photo op.

Gentiloni offered congratulations on Canada’s 150th birthday, and agreed the two countries share “the same line” on many issues.

“We are living in interesting times and this common vision, I think, will be helpful for us and for the world,” he said.

The Ottawa meeting came a day after Gentiloni was praised by President Donald Trump during a visit to Washington.

Italy is to host the G7 leaders’ summit next month, which will be part of Trump’s entry into the world of multilateral summitry.

Trump on Thursday praised Italy’s contributions to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and its efforts to promote stability in Libya.

Italy has also committed to increase its defence spending to two per cent of gross domestic product, the target Trump wants all NATO members to reach, but Trudeau has said Canada is already doing its fair share.

Italy supports free-trade agreements, something Trump has poured cold water on repeatedly, including this week when he said he was anxious to see some “some very big changes” to the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The G7 follows the NATO leaders’ summit in Brussels, which both Trump and Trudeau are expected to attend.

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