"The last thing Canadians expect is for me to come down and lecture another country on how they choose to govern," he said at the White House.
Both leaders stressed the countries' shared economic goals and co-operation at a joint news conference.
But their responses to questions about Syrian refugees underscored their contrasting policies on immigration.
Mr Trump defended his controversial travel ban, saying he wanted "to have a big beautiful, open door", but that "we cannot let the wrong people in".
The US president has stirred controversy for issuing an executive order temporarily banning entry of all refugees and visitors from seven mainly Muslim countries.
A federal judge has issued a temporary nationwide block on the travel ban, but the issue of refugees appeared to overshadow the joint news conference.
Mr Trudeau said the US and Canada had always been strong allies, fighting alongside one another on various battlefields.
"But there are times when we have differed in our approaches. And that's always been done firmly and respectfully," he said.
Justin Trudeau had a fine line to walk on Monday and came through with his best diplomatic balancing act.
The prime minister can travel back to Ottawa with Mr Trump on the record as having called the trade relationship between the two nations "outstanding" and only in need of a "tweaking".
What those tweaks might entail is still to be revealed, but you could almost hear anxious Canadian businesspeople breathing a sigh of relief.
This first face-to-face meeting also offered a clue at how far Mr Trudeau was willing to go preserve those vital trade ties.
Mr Trudeau refused to bite when the press repeatedly baited him to criticise his host on thorny issues like immigration, though many of his own policies stand as a reproach to those of the new US president's.
The prime minister added that Canada continues to "pursue our policies of openness" without compromising security and would serve as a "positive example in the world".
The Canadian leader made global headlines for accepting nearly 40,000 refugees, and has said his country will welcome those fleeing persecution and war.
When Mr Trump signed the controversial order, Mr Trudeau tweeted his government's commitment to bringing in "those fleeing persecution, terror & war".
He also sent a pointed tweet that showed him greeting a young refugee at a Canadian airport in 2015.
"This is a delicate situation here I don't think it would help anyone in this country if the prime minister went to the US and started a fight," said Opposition Conservative leader Rona Ambrose.
The two men, however, emphasised their commitment to provide growth and jobs for people on both sides of the northern border.
"We will co-ordinate closely to protect jobs in our hemisphere and to keep wealth in our continent," said Mr Trump.
Mr Trudeau gave Mr Trump a framed photograph of the US president and the prime minister's father, Pierre Trudeau.
The picture was taken in 1981 when the then-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau received an award in New York City, according to the prime minister's office.
The US president's pledge to renegotiate free trade deal Nafta has reportedly unsettled Canadian officials - 75% of the country's exports go to the US.
The two leaders, and Mr Trump's daughter Ivanka, also led a roundtable discussion on female workers.
The neighbouring countries launched a new task force called the United States Canada Council for the Advancement of Women Business Leaders-Female Entrepreneurs.
Ivanka Trump, who appealed to working women throughout her father's presidential campaign, helped secure female executives to participate and set the agenda for the meeting.
It was a cold that Seidu Mohammed and Razak Iyal could barely comprehend.
On Christmas Eve, they found themselves struggling through a waist-deep field of snow in a rash night-time bid to sneak across the Canada-US border.
The two men had met a just few hours before at a Minneapolis bus station and both faced deportation back to Ghana after being denied refugee status in the US.
They had heard through a network of other refugees and African expats that if they could get into Canada, they had a second shot at asylum in the north.
By the time they reached Highway 75 in Manitoba, their hands had frozen into claws. They could not reach the phones in their pockets to dial 9-1-1 as planned. Mohammed's eyes had frozen shut.
The joint task force may help allay tensions over some of the protectionist measures Mr Trump has issued since he took office in January.
|Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with President Trump in the Oval Office at the White House on Feb. 13, 2017. Kevin Lamarque—Reuters|
That Viral Photo of Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump Is Not What It Seems
That’s Justin Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister, looking down contemplatively at the open right palm of President Trump during their Oval Office meeting on Monday. Trudeau appears unsure whether he wants to engage any further, specifically whether he wants to reach out in front of a horde of cameras and grab it while they go click, click, click.
It begs the question: Does Trudeau really want to shake Trump’s hand? (His fingers are intertwined like he's thinking hard about it, like it was the biggest choice he'll make on this trip. Had he seen Trump shake the hand of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and hesitated?) On Twitter, the answer appeared to be no.
"Justin Trudeau is all of us," one tweet reads.
"Justin Trudeau is looking at Trump's hand like he just read the Russian Dossier," says another.
"And Reuters may have scored the still of the day," reads a third.
Even I tweeted about it.
The headlines started to write themselves, on the likes of BuzzFeed and Jezebel.
But let’s pull back a minute. There’s nothing exceptional about its composition or color, nor did it capture a historic moment that will be displayed in gallery halls or textbooks. These two men, who are at opposite ends of both policy and approach, are both photographed often, and so it made sense for photographers to focus on their every interaction together.
In this case, the photographer, Kevin Lamarque of Reuters, pushed the shutter in the fraction of the second that it took Trudeau to register Trump's request to shake hands, isolating a moment that was never meant to be so editorialized.
A photo editor spends much of their day looking at pictures, mostly from wire agencies. We're hunting for the best images to illustrate the news or feature, and the ones that make news on their own. This image falls in the latter category, specifically because it was taken out of context.
When a picture is ripped and shared—an unquantifiable occurrence today, and which is the case here—there is breathing room for the audience to read too little, or too much, into the reality of the moment. If not done carefully, doing so can ignite an alternative narrative that consumes the original meaning and spreads like wildfire.
Ordinarily, a photo like this wouldn’t have made the rounds. If it were Trudeau and Barack Obama, perhaps one of them looking into each others’ eyes or hamming for the cameras might have gone over better. But these aren’t ordinary times. We live in a new normal of misinformation sharing, one where falsities are pushed as truths by the highest levels of power. And so people are grasping for images that either back up their preexisting notions or turn the mainstream narrative on its head, and then sharing with their followers to further the reach.
Did Trudeau really want to shake Trump’s hand? It’s unclear. Did he? Yes. There are plenty of photos and videos as proof. You just might not have seen them.
Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump Try to Bridge Some Gaps While Avoiding Others
WASHINGTON — Despite sharp differences on immigration, refugees, trade and climate change, President Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada struck a cordial tone on Monday in their first meeting, alternating between attempting to bridge those gaps and steering clear of them.
Mr. Trump has called for a halt to the admission of refugees, saying that terrorists might slip into the United States among them, while Mr. Trudeau has held out Canada as a haven for refugees, particularly people who have fled the war in Syria, publicly hugging newly arrived families.
When asked at a White House news conference whether he now sees the northern American border with Canada as insecure, Mr. Trump skirted the question, speaking instead of his administration’s efforts to deport criminals from the United States.
In the same vein, Mr. Trudeau declined to say whether he agreed with the president’s executive order restricting immigration.
“The last thing Canadians expect is for me to come down and lecture another country on how they choose to govern themselves,” he said.
Maintaining the country’s close political and economic links with the United States was top of the Canadian leader’s agenda before his visit to Washington. Mr. Trudeau had forged an unusually close relationship with former President Barack Obama, but many of Mr. Trump’s policies, particularly his protectionist stance on trade and his call for renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, are chilling for Canadians. They count on trade with the United States for about 25 percent of their country’s gross domestic product.
“It is a real concern for many Canadians because we know that our economy is very dependent on our bonds with the United States,” said Mr. Trudeau, who has expressed a cautious openness to renegotiating the trade pact.
Mr. Trump’s complaints about trade have focused primarily on Mexico, another partner in the North American agreement, and China, which he has accused of taking advantage of the United States. He did not answer a question about whether he sees Canada as a fair trader, but suggested that he does not foresee deep changes in that relationship, which he called “outstanding.”
“We’ll be tweaking it,” he said. “It’s a much less severe situation than what’s taking place on the southern border.”
He said the two leaders had spoken privately about “doing some cross-border things that will make it a lot easier for trade and a lot better and a lot faster.” They issued a joint statement pledging to continue border security programs that began under Mr. Obama, and reaffirming their commitment to NATO, an alliance that Mr. Trump had previously questioned.
In presentation and speech, Mr. Trump, a bombastic Republican, and Mr. Trudeau, a more mild-mannered Liberal who is 25 years younger, are poles apart. But the prime minister has carefully avoided direct criticism of Mr. Trump and his policies. After the American election, he reorganized his cabinet to better deal with the change of power in Washington and swiftly sent emissaries to meet with Mr. Trump’s advisers.
The meeting was the first test of the Canadian leader’s effort to foster a good working relationship.
Mr. Trump greeted Mr. Trudeau warmly, a reception similar to the president’s greeting last week to Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister. The leaders shook hands heartily when Mr. Trudeau arrived at the White House, patting each other on the shoulder with their free hands.
Mr. Trudeau appears determined to maintain friendly relations with Mr. Trump despite their differences, while signaling to Canadians who are wary of their powerful neighbor that Canada still charts its own course.
“We continue our policy of openness to immigration and refugees without compromising security,” the prime minister said. “There have been times where we have differed in our approaches, and that’s always been done firmly and respectfully.”
Mr. Trudeau presented the president with a framed photograph taken in the 1980s, showing Mr. Trump speaking at the head of a table of people including Pierre Elliott Trudeau, a former Liberal prime minister of Canada and the current prime minister’s father.
The cabinet ministers who traveled with Mr. Trudeau on Monday had prepared for meetings with their American counterparts by emphasizing the importance of the cross-border relationship to Canadians. Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s foreign minister, had reminded Trump administration officials that trade between the countries is roughly in balance, and that Canada is the largest buyer of American exports from 35 states.
“The combination of Canada being smaller and the United States being bigger and the relationship largely being trouble-free means a lot of Americans don’t spend a lot of time thinking about Canada,” Ms. Freeland said in a recent interview. “Americans are not always fully aware of the economic significance of the relationship.”
Canadian business leaders expressed some relief after their prime minister’s meeting with Mr. Trump.
“On the whole, this was a good day,” said John Manley, the president and chief executive of the Business Council of Canada, which represents 150 large Canadian corporations. “There’s still lots of things to be anxious about, but I think the tone and the substance were all very positive.”
Some of those anxieties stem from uncertainty over what small changes to the United States-Canada trade relationship could mean for some sectors of the economy.
There had been concerns after Mr. Trump’s election that he might go after the Canadian auto industry, a major employer in Ontario, which exports most of its production to the United States.
Flavio Volpe, the president of the Auto Parts Manufacturers’ Association, a trade group, said that it was important for his members to hear Mr. Trump’s message that he is not planning to dramatically remake the United States’ trade relationship to Canada.