SOMEWHERE ABOVE ONTARIO – Greetings from what has been an outstanding trade mission to Canada led by Gov. Doug Ducey. As is always the case, the governor has been a first class ambassador for Arizona, has been warmly received and has made it clear to everyone he’s met that Arizona is one of the finest locations for business in all of North America.
Airborne to our next stop in Montreal, here are a few quick thoughts on what we’ve seen and heard so far:
Let’s start with the fact that Toronto is the fifth largest city in North America, trailing only Mexico City, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. It’s the center of finance for Canada, the United States’ largest trading partner, Arizona’s second-largest export market and our state’s third-largest trading partner overall.
The city is cosmopolitan and bustling. It in many ways feels like a safer, cleaner version of New York City. The people are friendly, knowledgeable and stylish. And, important for me, they love their baseball.
Canada loves Arizona, and the feeling is mutual
We have about 350 Canadian companies operating in Arizona, richly contributing to our economy each and every day. Companies like Fortis, Inc., which counts UniSource Energy Services and Tucson Electric Power in its family of companies, Bombardier, and several mining companies. Our state’s annual trade with Canada totals more than $3.8 billion.
It’s a privilege to be part of Gov. Ducey’s Arizona delegation. With the fine work of Sandra Watson and her Arizona Commerce Authority team, and Mr. Canada, Glenn Williamson, the schedule has been loaded with meetings with key business leaders and elected officials. Canadian Consul General James Villeneuve, who is based in L.A., has taken care of us and opened many doors for commerce.
The governor gave a well-received speech before Toronto’s business leaders yesterday at the Toronto Club. He stressed the importance of Canadian investment in Arizona and made a powerful case for more of it given Arizona’s excellent and always improving business climate. He effectively contrasted Arizona with California. The governor stressed that certain sectors were ripe for increased collaboration, such as aerospace and healthcare, specifically calling out Mayo and TGEN.
It’s not lost on me that a key member of the delegation, Kirk Adams, the governor’s chief of staff, was the speaker of the Arizona House when a landmark jobs package was constructed that has reduced our business taxes across the board.
Flying the flag for Arizona and trade
This morning we had the privilege to represent Arizona as Governor Ducey opened the Toronto Stock Exchange.
At the airport I had the good fortune thanks to Glenn to meet with the US Ambassador to Canada, Bruce Heyman. In our brief time together we discussed the importance of trade not just to the U.S. economy, but to our national security. As discussed previously, there is much work to be done by chambers of commerce to rebuild the public support and bipartisan coalition on trade. That time is coming soon.