Trump calls Norway a ‘great customer’ in welcoming the PM

Donald Trump, Erna Solberg
President Donald Trump meets with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg in the Oval Office of the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump and Norway’s prime minister bonded over economic ties and military might on Wednesday as the two leaders joined together for talks expected to focus on security issues and jobs.

Trump’s meeting with Prime Minister Erna Solberg at the White House was the first foreign leader visit with the president in 2018. Seated in the Oval Office, Trump noted that Norway has been a strong consumer of U.S.-built military equipment, including the F-35 aircraft.

“Norway is a great customer, and a great ally and a great friend,” Trump told Solberg.

Solberg said Norway was “really appreciative of the good work that we have together with the United States. You are our closest ally inside NATO.” The prime minister also noted her country’s investments in the U.S., which she said supported 470,000 U.S. jobs.

“We do make great products,” Trump said in response. “We make the greatest military equipment in the world and you buy a lot of it. We appreciate that. It’s called jobs.”

The White House said in advance of the meetings that Trump and Solberg would discuss regional and global security issues with NATO, including the coalition aligned against the Islamic State group, along with economic issues and trade.

The two leaders were participating in a joint news conference later in the day.

Solberg said before the meeting that she’d put climate and “open world trade” on the agenda in the bilateral talks.

Norway has sought to be an international leader in efforts to reduce planet-warming carbon emissions. While the Scandinavian country remains a major exporter of oil and gas, the Norwegian government was among the first to sign on to the landmark Paris climate deal, pledging to meet a 40 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030.

Trump announced last year his intention to pull the U.S. out of the climate pact and the president has repeatedly expressed skepticism about climate change science, calling global warming a “hoax” created by the Chinese to damage American industry.

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