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Ontario Strengthens Ties With Italy

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Ontario Strengthens Ties With Italy

Premier McGuinty Meets President Of Lombardy During India Trade Mission

Office of the Premier

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and the President of Italy's Lombardy Region, Roberto Formigoni, said they would strengthen ties between their people and economies during a meeting today in New Delhi, India.

"Lombardy is an important economic region of Italy, just like Ontario is the economic engine of Canada," said Premier McGuinty. "It's time we took steps to renew the historic ties between Lombardy and Ontario to build opportunity in both places."

In 1990, Ontario and Lombardy signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at enhancing commercial and educational exchanges, but by the late 1990s that agreement had lapsed. Both Premier McGuinty and President Formigoni said they would explore the possibility of renewing and modernizing that agreement.

Premier McGuinty informed President Formigoni of Ontario's deep connection to Italy. Pointing to the hundreds of thousands of Italian Canadians living in the province, the number of high-profile Italian Canadians serving as elected members of government and the many achievements of Ontario's Italian community, Premier McGuinty said Ontario and Italy must do more to strengthen and renew their longstanding alliances.

"In a globally competitive, dynamic and changing world economy, it's not enough to rest on our laurels," said Premier McGuinty. "We must continue to work together to strengthen our ties, our people and our economies."

President Formigoni agreed that more should be done to strengthen and renew partnerships between Lombardy and Ontario. He told Premier McGuinty about the nature of Lombardy's economy, including its strong fashion, design and manufacturing industries.

In 2005, two-way Ontario-Italy trade was valued at $2.5 billion. Italy is Ontario's fourth-largest European Union trading partner.

"Working together, I know Lombardy and Ontario can do even more to build opportunity for our people," said Premier McGuinty. "I invite President Formigoni to visit Ontario, meet with us and discuss ways we can make the ties that bind us even stronger."

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