Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced that he will welcome Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta to Canada on September 22-23, 2013, as part of an official visit to the country.
“Italy is an important friend and valued ally to Canada,” said the Prime Minister. “We are both committed to building on shared priorities, including ensuring our prosperity and security, and advancing the values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law.”
This will be Prime Minister Letta’s first visit to Canada, and the first official visit of an Italian Prime Minister since 2001. This official visit will provide an opportunity for both leaders to discuss matters of shared interest, such as growing trade - including the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) – and investment and security, which includes recent developments in Syria. The two leaders last met on the margins of the Lough Erne G-8 Summit in June 2013.
“This official visit will afford me an opportunity to celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit and success of the Italian-Canadian community, who remain deeply committed to Canada and make significant contributions to our nation in all areas of human endeavour,” said the Prime Minister.
Two-way merchandise trade between Canada and Italy amounted to $6.9 billion in 2012, making Italy Canada’s 10th largest trading partner. Bilateral relations between Canada and Italy are underpinned by strong commercial, cultural and people-to-people ties and are greatly enhanced by Canada’s vibrant 1.5 million-strong Italian-Canadian community.