Emphasizing the importance open and free trade has to the economies of cities and nations will be a key message Mayor Brian Bowman will take to meetings with government and industry stakeholders during a trip to Minneapolis and St. Paul next week.
“Winnipeg has always been a trading city, and open and free trade is critically important for Winnipeg and Manitoba,” said Mayor Brian Bowman. “Cities and businesses on both sides of the border are keenly interested in maintaining strong trade relationships that have emerged since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into effect in 1994. And as NAFTA talks heat up, it is more important than ever to be advocating against protectionist policies.”
The Mayor noted Canada and the United States represent one of the closest trading relationships between two nations in the world, and have worked together as friends, allies and partners on many different levels.
“No two nations depend more on each other for their mutual prosperity and security,” said Mayor Bowman.
In 2016, Canada-U.S bilateral trade exceeded $635 billion, representing over $1.7 billion worth of goods and services crossing the border every day. Canada is the largest single export market for the U.S and vice versa. Nearly nine million American jobs depend on trade and investment with Canada, and 1.9 million Canadian jobs are related to Canadian exports to the U.S.
During the trip, the Mayor will meet with a number of local businesses and organizations to strengthen intercity relationships between Winnipeg and U.S cities, as well as build relationships between the two countries. Meetings will include:
- Cargill – with headquarters in Winnipeg and Minneapolis, Cargill is an industry leader in providing food, agriculture and industrial products and services to the world.
- New Flyer – with headquarters in Winnipeg and having U.S manufacturing operations in North Dakota, Minnesota, and Alabama, New Flyer is a leading manufacturer of transit buses and motor coaches in North America.
- Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce – with its two affiliates, the Bloomington Chamber of Commerce and Northeast Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce, it serves 1,400 businesses in the 11-county metro area.
- Minnesota Chamber of Commerce – the state’s largest business organization, representing more than 2,300 businesses of all types and sizes across Minnesota.
- League of Minnesota Cities (LMC) – a roundtable on trade and economic development with nine Mayors from the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. LMC is a membership organization serving more than 800 member cities dedicated to promoting excellence in local government.
In addition to next week’s meetings, the City of Winnipeg, represented by Councillor Russ Wyatt, recently participated in the North American Strategy for Competitiveness’ (NASCO) annual tri-national conference in Monterrey, Mexico. NASCO is a grassroots, continental organization focused on the competitiveness of the North American supply chain, workforce, and energy independence.
The Mayor said as a grassroots organization, NASCO underscores the importance work at the local level can have on increasing competitiveness and opening up trade opportunities, and welcomed Councillor Wyatt’s recent reappointment as Council’s representative to NASCO.
“We have seen over the last year that Mayors and local officials can have an important role to play in advocating for free trade,” said Mayor Bowman. “The recent Bombardier-Boeing dispute underscored how local governments can play an important role in national issues. I look forward over the next few days to building and strengthening partnerships between businesses and government stakeholders in Winnipeg and Canada’s largest trading partner.”
Mayor Bowman has been committed to promoting Winnipeg nationally and internationally as a good place to live, work, invest, and do business. Since elected, the Mayor has promoted Winnipeg to cities including Montreal, Toronto, Atlanta, and New York.
The Mayor will be in Minneapolis and St. Paul from November 5-7