Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and US President Barrack Obama have traded light-heated jibes over ice hockey and beer at the opening of the first Canadian state visit to the US in more than 20 years.

Both Trudeau and Obama took to a podium set up on the White House's south lawn, where the outgoing president asked Trudeau which NHL team is currently in possession of the league's cup. "Where's the Stanley Cup right now?" Obama joked, before answering: "The Chicago Blackhawks." Trudeau responded by saying: "Don't get me started," as he wagged his finger.

Trudeau, who has enjoyed an international honeymoon eclipsed only by President Obama's reception on the global stage seven years ago, will dine tonight (10 March) at a state dinner with his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and the first lady Michelle Obama. Some 200 other guests will be in attendance.

The Obama administration has said it hopes the visit will increase the close bond between the US and Canada, AP reported.

While the two Liberal leaders are at ease with each other, Canada and the US have seen their foreign policies diverge since Trudeau's surprise election in 2015. Canada has withdrawn its warplanes from the coalition against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, on the back of a key Liberal campaign promise.

On the domestic front Trudeau has emphasised his closeness to the Obama administration, saying their two governments "share and are working on the exact same objectives".

In the past Obama and Trudeau's predecessor Stephen Harper found themselves at odds over trade issues. On top of trade discussions over the course of Trudeau's visit, the two leaders are expected to discuss climate change. The pair issued a joint statement on climate change ahead of the state visit.