Canada's Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Thursday she met with Honda Motor 7267.T representatives about locating a potential almost 2-trillion-yen (US$13.7 billion) electric vehicle plant in the country.

"I had a meeting with Honda and it's a company that has been a very important investor in Canada," Freeland told reporters in Toronto, adding that other government officials also had meetings with the Japanese automaker.

"That's a very important relationship, and our work with them is ongoing," Freeland said, without specifying when the meetings took place.

Freeland added that there had been various meetings between Honda and government officials in different departments.

On Sunday, Japan's Nikkei news group reported that Honda is looking at multiple potential sites for the plant, including next to an existing automobile factory in Alliston, Ontario.

The report said Honda expects to make a decision by the end of 2024 and bring the new facility online as early as 2028.

Canada has wooed companies involved in all levels of the EV supply chain to safeguard the future of its manufacturing heartland in Ontario as the world seeks to cut carbon emissions.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last year said that Canada was looking for more "targeted" investments after the government gave hefty subsidies to Volkswagen and Stellantis-LG Energy Solution for their planned battery gigafactories.

Honda, Japan's second-biggest car maker, announced on Tuesday plans to launch a new electric vehicle series from 2026, as it plays catch-up with global rivals in the shift to battery-powered cars.

Honda has been slow to step up sales of electric vehicles. The automaker, with partner LG Energy Solution 373220.KS, in 2022 announced Ohio as the site of a planned US$4.4 billion joint venture battery plant.

(Reporting by Ismail Shakil, Promit Mukherjee and Steve Scherer in Ottawa; Editing by Chris Reese and Nick Zieminski)