- Justin Trudeau and Jeff Bezos are set to meet on Thursday in San Francisco.
- Amazon‘s HQ2 will surely be among the topics of discussion.
- The Canadian city of Toronto is on Amazon’s 20-city shortlist, and Trudeau is sure to talk up his country’s immigration policies in his pitch.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to meet with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in San Francisco on Thursday, according to Reuters.
It’s part of the Canadian leader’s three-day tour of America to shore up support for NAFTA.
Trudeau will “meet with various business leaders and entrepreneurs in the technology sector to explore opportunities for growth in high-quality jobs and investment in Canada,” during his trip, as his press secretary Eleanore Catenaro told the Toronto Star.
If you read between the lines just a smidge, it’s not hard to figure that Amazon’s search for a place to put its second headquarters will come up in conversation. This is Trudeau’s chance to pitch Toronto — the only city outside the US on Amazon’s HQ2 shortlist — directly to Bezos during a closed-door conversation.
HQ2, with its promise of 50,000 new jobs and $5 billion in investment, is big enough that it would matter not just to an individual city or state, but to an entire country the size of Canada.
Trudeau previously sent a letter to Bezos when the HQ2 project was announced, talking up Toronto’s tech talent and cosmopolitan lifestyle, as well as Canada’s lower cost to employers via universal healthcare.
Previously Ottawa’s mayor said Canadian cities had an advantage because of Canada’s more liberal policies.
“Amazon has something like 9,000 engineering jobs they can’t fill. [Canada’s] immigration policy is much more liberal,” Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson told the New York Times in September. “That’s where we have an advantage.”
Canada is not as affected by political turmoil, and there’s less uncertainty about changes coming to immigration laws than there is in the US. In an interview with the CBC from September, a former Amazon exec described Canada as “more welcoming” when it comes to immigration.
Toronto and Canada are hoping that Amazon weighs that advantage heavily, as the bid it submitted to Amazon did not emphasize tax and other financial incentives.