JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Gov. Jay Nixon today announced that he will lead a delegation of Missouri business leaders and state officials to Canada next week, from March 2 through March 6. Canada is Missouri’s largest export market and purchased nearly $4 billion in Missouri goods last year, led by the provinces of Ontario ($2.6 billion) and Quebec ($700 million). In meetings with business and governmental leaders in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto, the Governor will seek to build on this solid foundation by identifying new opportunities to sell more Missouri products to Canada, and expand investments by Canadian companies in Missouri.
“Ninety-six percent of the world’s consumers live outside the United States, so in order to keep creating jobs here at home we need to do everything we can to reach new customers for Missouri-made products abroad,” Gov. Nixon said. “As Missouri’s number one export market, Canada offers tremendous opportunities for Missouri businesses and farmers. In fact, Canada purchased nearly $4 billion in Missouri goods last year alone – dollars that helped fuel our economy and bring our unemployment rate to a five and a half year low. The goal of this mission is simple: sell more products to Canada, and create more jobs in Missouri.”
Joining Gov. Nixon on the delegation will be: First Lady Georganne Nixon; Mike Downing, Director, Department of Economic Development; and Richard Fordyce, Director, Department of Agriculture. The Missouri delegation will also include representatives of Missouri businesses including Custom Metalcraft of Springfield; Essex Industries of St. Louis; Advantage Capital Partners; and Kent Precision Foods Group, Inc. of St. Louis.
During the mission, the Governor will meet with government officials including Elaine Zakaib, the Minister of Industrial Policy in Quebec; Ed Fast, the Canadian Minister of International Trade; and Kathleen Wynne, the Premier of Ontario. The Governor will also address a number of Canadian trade and industry associations, including American Chambers of Commerce in Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa and the Montreal Board of Trade.
Gov. Nixon will also meet with the leadership of major Canadian corporations that have made or are considering making investments in Missouri, such as Magna International, the parent company of Magna Seating in Excelsior Springs and LMV Automotive in Liberty. In 2012, LMV Automotive broke ground on a $42 million facility in Liberty that will supply parts to the Ford Transit, being built in Claycomo.
“This trade mission is a great opportunity to expand foreign investment in our state,” Gov. Nixon said. “We’ve seen how, particularly in the automotive sector, companies like Magna International are seeing Missouri as an increasingly attractive place to invest and create high-paying jobs.”
Canada’s largest pipeline company, Enbridge Inc., is currently building a $2.8 billion oil pipeline across 11 Missouri counties, creating jobs and boosting economic development in local communities.
Missouri’s top exports to Canada in 2013 were transportation equipment ($1.5 billion); chemicals ($624 million); machinery ($438 million); and food products ($352 million).
“Established in 1977 in Springfield Missouri, Custom Metalcraft Inc. is the leading manufacturer of IBC’s (Intermediate Bulk Containers) in the U.S.,” said Gregory Macchi, International Sales Manager for Custom Metalcraft Inc. “As a result of our efforts to establish relationships and build strategic alliances across the globe, our foreign presence is growing exponentially from year to year. With partner companies in the UK/Europe and Australia, and a strong presence in Canada, Southeast Asia, South America and Western Africa, we see exports as a continued growth engine for our company. Recent advancements in drilling technologies have made prospects in Canada an even more exciting venture for us. We view the Governors Trade Mission to Canada as a great opportunity to build upon our footprint in Canada, and with the Governor’s help opening doors, we expect to grow even more.”
“Exports are an important, and growing, part of our business and this trade mission will help us solidify key relationships for new growth,” said Christie Peterson of Kent Precision Foods Group, Inc., which specializes in developing, blending and packaging quality, dry mix food products for foodservice customers throughout the world. “We appreciate the opportunity to participate, and look forward to continuing to serve our global customer base from right here in St. Louis, Mo.”
The Governor, First Lady, and members of the delegation will arrive in Montreal on Sunday, March 2. The delegation will travel to Ottawa on Tuesday, March 4 and then to Toronto on Wednesday, March 5. The delegation will depart for Missouri on Thursday, March 6. Travel costs for Gov. and Mrs. Nixon will be covered by the Hawthorn Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting economic growth in Missouri; state taxpayer funds will not be used.
Increasing exports has been a central focus of Gov. Nixon’s efforts to create jobs and grow Missouri’s economy. Since the Governor’s Strategic Initiative for Economic Growth recommended developing a “Best in Class” foreign trade initiative, Gov. Nixon has led successful trade missions to China, Brazil, Korea, Europe and the Republic of China (Taiwan), closing agreements to sell a total of $6.5 billion in Missouri goods. Last year, Gov. Nixon launched Export Missouri to help more Missouri companies, and especially small businesses, find new customers and sell their products in overseas markets.
For more information about expanding export opportunities for Missouri businesses, visit www.mo.gov.