Premier Expands Economic Opportunities with Georgia
Premier Kathleen Wynne released the following statement regarding her mission to Georgia today:
"Today in Atlanta, I met with the Governor of Georgia, Nathan Deal, as well as business leaders from across the state to build on our trade partnerships and support new opportunities to grow our economies and create good jobs on both sides of the border.
Ontario is Georgia's top export customer, and our regions share a strong relationship based on that trade, open procurement and cross-border collaboration. Last year, Georgia and Canada exchanged almost C$12 billion in goods, and trade with Ontario accounted for more than half of that. Trade and investment with Canada also supports nearly 331,000 jobs in the state.
Governor Deal and I are committed to continuing to support sectors that are tightly linked through free trade and integrated cross-border supply chains. Nowhere is this more important than in the auto sector, which is key to the economic strength of both Ontario and Georgia, as well as our partnership. In 2016, Ontario imported C$1.6 billion worth of vehicles and vehicle parts from Georgia. Over C$140 million worth of vehicles and vehicle parts flow back and forth between Ontario and Georgia every month. A subsidiary of Ontario's Magna International, Decostar Industries, employs 1,000 Georgians and is one of the state's top 10 auto-sector employers.
Film and TV production is another common strength for Ontario and Georgia. Ontario is Canada's number one production centre, and in recent years Georgia has become the U.S.'s third-largest centre for the industry. Today I met with SIM Digital and Pinewood Studios, both of which have operations in Toronto and Atlanta, to discuss how we can help businesses grow by fostering cross-border integration and innovation. In October, both companies will be in Toronto for a Canada-Georgia creative industries roundtable.
As Canada and the U.S. prepare to renegotiate NAFTA later this summer, I will continue to work directly with government and economic leaders from across the U.S., ensuring that lawmakers and businesses in these states clearly understand the reciprocal nature of our strong economic partnership.
There will be challenges. To our disappointment, yesterday the state of New York reached an agreement on new discriminatory Buy American legislation, which will have an impact on Ontario businesses. However, as a direct result of our advocacy, the provisions are of narrow application and much less punitive than those first considered by state lawmakers. From now until the legislation is set to take effect in April 2018, we will continue to advocate for Ontario to be exempted from these harmful Buy American policies and we will continue to consider and pursue all reasonable options to protect good jobs and stand up for workers and businesses in Ontario. This includes proposed legislation approved by Cabinet that would allow Ontario to respond strongly to these provisions. I will continue to stand up for the people of Ontario, any time and every time Buy American policies are being considered or implemented in states that do business with our province.
In recent weeks I have met with mayors, governors and congress people from across the U.S., and I remain encouraged that, across those levels of government, there is a strong understanding of what free trade and open procurement mean for our economies. An understanding that it creates good jobs for workers and more opportunity for business, and that it encourages competition and economic growth, not just in Ontario but in the U.S. as well.
This July, at the National Governors Association Meeting in Rhode Island, I will have the opportunity to build on these partnerships and promote Ontario's interests with more than 25 of my governor partners.
Keeping the conversation going with U.S. governors will be key to Ontario's immediate and longer-term success. I will continue to promote free trade as the foundation of a strong, mutually beneficial relationship that directly supports workers and businesses in Ontario and in the U.S."