Canada and The Commonwealth – Strong Economic Partners

Source: Conference Notes, Bridgewater State College, and NBEDC Staff

The New Bedford Economic Development Council participated in the “Trade, Tourism, and the Border” conference held at the Shaw’s Center in Brockton, Mass. on October 25, 2006. The event was sponsored by the New England-Canada Business Council, the Canadian Consulate General of Boston and Bridgewater State College

The conference examined the key economic relationships that are formed and growing between U.S. and Canadian companies, and their respective governments. The economic connections range from trade and investment between the two countries, to travel and tourism.

The topic is important for tourism, business and political leaders in Massachusetts to consider, especially in light of new rules regarding entry to the United States that will take effect in 2007.

Keynote speakers at the event were former Massachusetts Governor and former U.S. Ambassador to Canada Paul Cellucci and Canadian Consul General to New England Neil Le Blanc.

Canada and the United States enjoy an economic partnership unique in the contemporary world. The two nations share the world’s largest and most comprehensive trading relationship, which supports millions of jobs in each country.

Since the implementation of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement in 1989, two-way trade has tripled. Under NAFTA, growth in bilateral trade between Canada and the U.S. has averaged almost 6 percent annually over the last decade. Today, bilateral trade accounts for more than $680 billion, with more than $1.8 billion worth of goods and services crossing the border every single day.

The discussion revolved around the current state of trade between the U.S. and Canada and the role that NAFTA has played in the global economy.

Governor Cellucci and Mr. Le Blanc both examined the business connections between the Commonwealth and Canada, and agreed a continued mutual relationship is beneficial to both areas. Canadian tourists visit Massachusetts each year more than anywhere else, making approximately 450,000 trips and spending $150 million in the commonwealth. More Massachusetts exports are bound for Canada than any other country in the world. Two-way trade between Canada and Massachusetts exceeds more than $10 billion annually.

Consul General LeBlanc sees the ties between the U.S. and Canada becoming stronger and encourages a continued dialogue between the New England states and Canada.

The New England-Canada Business Council, Inc. (NECBC) was formed in 1981 to bring together businesses and individuals with an interest in the relationship and, more specifically, New England-Canada political, business and cultural issues. Today, the Council’s membership is composed of business leaders from a wide range of sectors including banking, law, consulting, energy, and high technology, as well as government and academic officials and individuals with links to Canada. Membership in the NECBC is open to all with an interest in stimulating the growth of New England-Canada ties. http://www.necbc.org