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Trump and Trudeau meet face to face for the first time

AP | Ottawa |

The first face to face meeting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and US President Trump could be the most important meeting for Canada in decades between leaders of the two neighbours.

Trudeau will be at the White House on Monday at a time when many Canadians fear Trump will enact protectionist measures that could hurt their economy and worry the new president could be as combative as he was with the leaders of Mexico and Australia.

Trudeau, 45, and Trump, 70, have vastly different outlooks on the world. Trudeau is a liberal who champions global trade and has welcomed 40,000 Syrian refugees.

Trump is a protectionist and his moves to restrict entry of refugees and immigrants are expected to come up Monday. But Trudeau is expected to emphasise common economic interests.

"We're going to talk about all sorts of things we align on, like jobs and economic growth, opportunities for the middle class – the fact that millions of good jobs on both sides of our border depend on the smooth flow of goods and services across that border," Trudeau said.

But Trudeau also said they are "going to talk about things that I'm sure we disagree on and we'll do it in a respectful way. Canada will always stay true to the values that have made us this extraordinary country, a place of openness."