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Justin Trudeau to pitch Ontario’s economy in meetings with Japanese auto execs: source

Click to play video 'PM Trudeau aims to revive Canada-Japan trade' PM Trudeau aims to revive Canada-Japan trade
WATCH: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is spending his first full day in Japan, visiting one of the world's most important economies in hopes of bolstering trade. Vassy Kapelos reports from Tokyo, where the PM will be highlighting the benefits of doing more business with Canada – May 23, 2016

A senior government source says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will use his meetings with Japan’s top auto executives to sell the merits of Ontario’s economy.

On Tuesday, Trudeau is slated to sit down with the heads of Subaru, Toyota and Honda. Canada’s high-tech sector, situated in the Kitchener-Waterloo corridor, will factor heavily into Trudeau’s pitch.

WATCH: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with Yasuyuki Yoshinaga, the president and CEO of Fuji Heavy Industries.

Click to play video 'Justin Trudeau meets with CEO of Fuji Heavy Industries' Justin Trudeau meets with CEO of Fuji Heavy Industries
Justin Trudeau meets with CEO of Fuji Heavy Industries – May 23, 2016

Companies in the corridor have expertise in advanced and autonomous technology. In other words: driverless cars.

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Trudeau reportedly wants auto companies in Japan — known for their innovation — to be aware of that.

READ MORE: Trudeau arrives in Japan for G7 summit

Both Honda and Toyota have planned upgrades to their Canadian plants by 2019, and the government is hoping for reassurance that the plants will stay in Canada long-term.

Trudeau will also contrast the Canadian and American economies, the source said, touting Canada’s relatively lower labour costs because of universal healthcare and a low corporate tax rate while trying to sell Canada as a good place to do business.

READ MORE: Will self-driving cars drive traffic congestion off a cliff?

It’s no accident Trudeau is in Japan for a bilateral trip. Japan is the world’s third-largest economy and Japanese companies hold more than $2 trillion in cash reserves. The country is considered “fertile ground” by the Liberal government.

 

But will that translate into anything concrete? That’s always the multi-billion dollar question on these types of international trips. Trudeau’s trip to Japan is his ninth international visit since taking office.

Behind the scenes, the government is warning against the possibility of any big announcements during the trip, insisting that isn’t Japanese style, which they say is all about “relationship building.”

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Officials say it takes about three meetings to get to any type of announcement. and this is only the first round.

Follow Vassy Kapelos on Twitter for updates from Japan.

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