Photo of Donald Trump

Remarks With Prime Minister Justin P.J. Trudeau of Canada at a Roundtable Discussion With Women Entrepreneurs

February 13, 2017

President Trump. Thank you all very much. It's a great honor. Very nice. I have recognized some of you. Great success, so important. I'm honored to be here with Prime Minister Trudeau, whose father I knew and respected greatly. And he gave me a picture of myself and your father—and what a great picture, I will keep that in very special place—at the Waldorf Astoria, together.

We're going to launch the Canada-United States Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs. We have some of the great ones in this room, and business leaders. We have so many great women leaders around the table today, and we're going to go through your names and—exactly, because many of you I know, some of you I don't, so I want to find out all about you.

Women, as you know, and I can say that from my past life, I had so many women executives who were phenomenal—phenomenal—and really helped me a great deal in business. So it was really fantastic. They play a tremendously important role, women in our economy. Women are the primary source of income in 40 percent of American households and households with children under the age of 18. In order to create economic growth and lots of very good, well-paying jobs, we must ensure that our economy is a place where women can work and thrive. And I think that's happening in the United States much more so, and Ivanka is very much involved in this. And I appreciate you being involved in it.

And I know, Justin, in your—in Canada, it's happening big league, and that's very important. We need policies that help to keep women in the workforce and to address the unique barriers faced by female entrepreneurs, and they are unique. We need to make it easier for women to manage the demands of having both a job and a family, and we also need to make it easier for women entrepreneurs to get access to capital. And I guess pretty much all entrepreneurs, we have to help them out, because the system is not working so well for entrepreneurs getting capital. But it's, in particular, difficult for women, so we're going to get access to markets and access to networks.

And I look forward to hearing your advice. We're going to go around the table, and I want to really learn something today. And again, it's a great honor to be with you. And, Justin, I can say on behalf of our country, it's an honor to be with you.

Prime Minister Trudeau. Thank you. Well, thank you, Donald, for welcoming us. And I'm really excited about launching this, sitting around the table here with a number of successful executives who just happen to be women. One of the things that I've been lucky enough to do over the past year in New York and Beijing and across Canada is sit down with women CEOs, women executives, to talk about both their successes and the challenges they're facing that are particular, but also how, of course, we create more paths to success for women across our community and across our society.

Whenever I sit down with a woman executive, I know that she has had to overcome significant barriers that exist and therefore is likely to have greater insight into how to help reduce those barriers for others, but also be a formidable contributor to the success of business and her economy. So I think for me, it's not just about doing the right thing, it's about understanding that women in leadership positions is a very powerful leverage for success, for business, for communities, and for our entire economy.

[At this point, Prime Minister Trudeau spoke in French, and no translation was provided. He then concluded his remarks in English as follows.]

It's a great pleasure to sit with you now and to hear from your extraordinary leadership.

President Trump. Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister. Well how about we start with Ivanka, we go around the room. Ivanka, you might just want to say a couple of words.

Ivanka Trump. Welcome. And I'm honored to be here and really looking forward to hearing from each of you who serve as tremendous role models for me and so many other business leaders across both of our countries and can lend some tremendously valuable perspective as we think about the unique challenges that entrepreneurs, women in the workforce, female small-business owners are confronted with each and every day. And as we think about how we level the playing field for this generation and for the next.

So thank you for being here. And I look forward to hearing from each of you.

President Trump. Thank you.

TransAlta Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer Dawn L. Farrell. Thank you. I'm Dawn Farrell, and I'm from a company called TransAlta, which is located in Alberta, where you're going to build the Keystone Pipeline.

President Trump. That's right. There's a big chunk of it, that's right.

Ms. Farrell. So thanks for the opportunity to contribute to this important dialogue and a dialogue that we've had for 100—over hundreds of years. My company is in the business of making electricity. We generate electricity from coal, natural gas, and also from renewable sources: wind, hydro, and solar. We have operations in Canada, the United States, and in Australia.

And really, for us to excel, we have to be excellent at operations, engineering, finance, and trading, and we have to excel in the public policy dialogue that happens around energy. And I'll talk about that——

President Trump. Good.

Ms. Farrell. ——as part of today, because we've done some excellent work with the Trudeau Government.

Now, future jobs in our space absolutely depend on growth. There's no question of that. And I truly believe for there to be future opportunities for women, we have to have growth, because the more jobs there are, the more opportunities. And collaborations like this where we break down barriers and simplify and build trust and build confidence—because I think businesses invest when there's confidence. And my hope is that's what comes out of here.

Now, for us, having operations in Canada and the United States makes us absolutely more competitive. Our Centralia operation, which is in Washington State, is one of the most competitive plants. They have twice won our most coveted award for plant of the year. But the reality is, teams of people from the United States and teams of people from Canada cross the border often to work with each other to share and to—so that we can excel as a company overall. So it's huge——

President Trump. That's good. Well, we're going to go around. Thank you. Good job. Boy, she did a hell of a job. [Laughter] Wow, no wonder she's successful. [Laughter] Monique, thank you.

Investissement Québec Board of Directors Chair Monique F. Leroux. Monique Leroux. I am the chair of the board of the Quebec Investment fund and the chair of the Economic Council of the Province. I'm also a board member of large, global corporations like S&P Global, Michelin, and Couche-Tard, which is a very interesting Canadian company. Each of those organizations, of course, have significant businesses in the U.S. and also employs a lot of people in this country.

I feel really honored and privileged to be part of the council. I would like to thank you for this great opportunity.

President Trump. Thank you.

Ms. Leroux. We have a long history of cooperation, and I think that for the woman agenda it will contribute a lot for our great countries.

President Trump. Thank you, Monique. Appreciate it.

T&T Supermarket, Inc., Chief Executive Officer Tina Lee. My name is Tina Lee. I'm CEO of T&T Supermarket. We're Canada's largest Asian supermarket chain. I employ 5,000 staff and serve 500,000 people across the country every week.

President Trump. Wow. Fantastic.

Ms. Lee. Thank you.

President Trump. Thank you.

General Motors Co. Board of Directors member Carol M. Stephenson. I'm Carol Stephenson. I'm on the board of directors at General Motors, and I don't think that General Motors needs any introduction. [Laughter]

President Trump. No, we had—Mary Barra was here last week.

Ms. Stephenson. Yes.

President Trump. And she's terrific.

Ms. Stephenson. She is.

President Trump. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Ms. Stephenson. You're welcome.

Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc., President and Chief Executive Officer Tamara L. Lundgren. I'm Tamara Lundgren. I'm the president and CEO of Schnitzer Steel Industries, which is one of the world's largest recyclers of metal products sold to steel mills around the world. I also sit on the board of Parsons Corporation, which has been a big participant in the public-private partnerships in Canada. And I sit on the board of Ryder, which goes back and forth between the U.S. and Canada over 400 times every day. And lastly, I'm the Chair of the Board of the Portland branch of the 12th district Federal Reserve Board.

President Trump. Very good. Thank you very much.

General Electric Vice President and GE Canada President and Chief Executive Officer Elyse Allan. Hello, Elyse Allan. I'm vice president of GE, as well I lead GE's operations in Canada. And we're a digital industrial company. We have business in 190 countries in the world.

President Trump. Right. That's good. Good, thank you.

NRStor, Inc., Chair and Chief Executive Officer Annette Verschuren. I'm Annette Verschuren. I'm the CEO of NRStor, which is an energy storage development company. Half of my career I've worked with U.S. based companies—Home Depot, where I—[inaudible]—over 79 stores in Canada, and Michaels, the craft store. I think that our countries are so absolutely bound together by our people, our resources, our trade. Linda Hasenfratz and I worked for many years on North American competitiveness and found ways in which we could get products and services and people through the border efficiently——

President Trump. Right.

Ms. Verschuren. ——because, as you know, we're the biggest trading partners in the world.

President Trump. Well, we're going to be working on that very closely over the next very short period of time. There are some new things happening that can be very good.

Ms. Verschuren. That's great.

President Trump. Thank you very much.

Accenture-North America Chief Executive Officer Julie Sweet. Hello, I'm Julie Sweet. I'm the CEO of North America for Accenture, responsible for both our U.S. and Canadian businesses.

President Trump. Thank you.

Linamar Corporation Chief Executive Officer Linda Hasenfratz. Hi, I'm Linda Hasenfratz. I'm CEO of Linamar Corporation. We're a diversified manufacturing company. We have 57 plants and 25,000 employees around the world, including right here in the U.S. and, of course, also heavily invested in Canada. We've doubled our workforce in the U.S. over the last 5 years. We've also doubled our workforce in Canada over the last 5 years and have a lot of exciting opportunities for growth. We're mainly in the auto parts and access equipment sectors.

President Trump. Good, thank you very much. Thank you, everybody.

NOTE: The President spoke at 12:13 p.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Mary T. Barra, chief executive officer, General Motors Co.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks With Prime Minister Justin P.J. Trudeau of Canada at a Roundtable Discussion With Women Entrepreneurs Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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