Canada is the largest export market for U.S.-produced goods ($337 billion in 2015), as well as for goods produced in Wisconsin ($7.3 billion in 2015). With trade between the U.S. and Canada already strong—the two countries share the world’s longest international border, and more than $2 billion of goods and services cross that border each day—Canada is a natural first step for Wisconsin producers of goods and services who are looking to begin exporting.
From April 30 to May 5, 2017, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will be leading a global trade venture to Canada, with segments in Toronto and Montreal.
As a large, advanced economy with well-developed infrastructure, Canada is an ideal first market for new-to-export companies and one that seeks innovative, advanced technology product and service solutions. In Canada, Wisconsin companies will find a friendly market with many potential buyers for their products and services—especially if they offer innovations that solve problems for companies in their respective sectors. Both new-to-exporting companies and companies with prior exporting experience are welcome to participate; for best results, companies that apply should view exporting as an integral part of their overall corporate growth strategy.
In each city, participants will be scheduled for customized one-on-one meetings with prospective partners in the market. These partners are hand-picked for each participating company based on specific qualifications and criteria that suit the company’s needs. Each participant in the global trade venture will also receive market intelligence specific to his or her company, detailing considerations to keep in mind when introducing the company’s product or service into the Canadian market. With logistics and scheduling handled for them, participating companies can focus on business.
Canada is a highly receptive, open and transparent market for U.S. products and services, with Canadians spending more than 60 percent of their disposable income on U.S. goods and services. U.S. exports to Canada equaled total U.S. exports to China, Japan, the UK and Germany combined in 2015. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a common language, cultural similarities and geographic proximity also ease the path for U.S. exports to Canada. Thus, Canada represents a strong opportunity market for Wisconsin exporters across all sectors.
Located in Ontario—currently the largest provincial economy in Canada—Toronto is part of the highly integrated Great Lakes distribution and production network. The Ontario economy is rich and diversified, and has continued to grow in an uncertain economic environment. Sectors of particular strength include aerospace, a $5.3 billion industry; automotive (Ontario is a leading high-quality, auto-producing jurisdiction); food and beverage manufacturing (Ontario has 52,000 farms producing more than 200 agricultural commodities); life sciences and medical technology (Toronto is Canada’s largest center of life sciences activity); and water technology, where Ontario is a global leader of research and development.
The Québec provincial economy is highly diversified and innovative, and has abundant natural resources and energy, as well as strong agriculture, manufacturing and service sectors. Its economy is the third-largest in Canada and accounts for almost 19 percent of national GDP. Economic growth in Québec is expected to accelerate by 1.5 percent in 2016 and 1.6 percent in 2017, compared to 1.1 percent growth in 2015. Montreal, though not the provincial capital, has developed into its economic center. Important industries include aerospace (Quebec is considered one of the world’s top three aerospace capitals), agri-food (with some 2,200 food processing businesses), advanced transportation (with companies such as Bombardier, BRP, Paccar and Volvo, as well as a number of innovative research centers), information and communications technology (including software development, microelectronics, multimedia, optics-photonics, consulting services, telecommunications and cloud services), life sciences (the region’s pool of skilled research personnel ranks among the world’s best) and mining (only 1 percent of resources are currently mined, however 5 percent are covered by mining rights).