Fresh off a G20 meeting with President Donald Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is taking his case for partnership to the states this week as potentially contentious NAFTA talks ramp up.
Mr. Trudeau is slated to speak July 14 to the National Governors Association’s summer meeting in Rhode Island, where he is expected to highlight the case for continued strength in a bilateral trade relationship valued at $882 billion last year.
Georgia, it seems, is already ahead of the curve on this front: The state recently joined the 10th annual SEUS-Canadian Provinces Alliance meeting in Toronto, where Georgia operates a trade and investment office.
Savannah also recently played host to a sort of agricultural “three amigos” summit, as former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, now U.S. Department of Agriculture secretary, brought his counterparts from Mexico and Canada to participate in preliminary trade talks over ice cream and other Georgia-grown dishes.
Canadian Ambassador David MacNaughton also visited Atlanta in mid-June to reiterate the strong ties between the countries.
Mr. Perdue’s desire to build relationships is indicative of the kind of reception Canada’s Consul General, Louise Blais, gets when she travels around the South, making the case to legislatures that trade ties with Canada are productive, not detrimental.
While some have reservations about trade, lawmakers often see the link between exports and job growth, she said.
“We make you more competitive by selling you goods at good quality, and then guess what, we buy it back from you once you finish assembling it. How much better can it get?” Ms. Blais said in a February Consular Conversation with Global Atlanta. “That story with Canada is completely lost because we don’t have companies like Mercedes-Benz or Komatsu or Yokohama or those kinds of big names.”
As she had done in an earlier speech at the Georgia State Capitol, she pointed out that trade with Canada is responsible for more than 330,000 jobs in Georgia alone.
“When I talk about the relationship, people don’t really realize quite how integrated we’ve become.”
Mr. Trudeau said brought home that point in his statement on the event:
“No countries share a closer bond than Canada and the United States. Each day, hundreds of thousands of people cross the border to work, travel or visit loved ones. Ever more integrated supply chains draw our economies closer together, bringing jobs and prosperity to Canadians and Americans alike. I will continue to work with all orders of the U.S. government to create good, middle class jobs on both sides of the border, and to find solutions to the challenges we face together.”
The prime minister’s speech will follow a morning keynote by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, a former governor of Indiana.
Governors from across the U.S., Canada and Mexico will be in attendance. Inquiries as to whether anyone from Georgia would be in attendance were unreturned as of press time.