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Strong Relationship with Canada Remains Critically Important

October 3, 2018

In the Northeastern United States, the relationship with our neighbors in Canada is a vital part of our economy and culture. For more than two centuries, we’ve grown together.  

Since 1993, Canada has been the U.S.’s fifth-largest source of foreign capital. We’ve seen a boom in travel and tourism: By 2011, Canadians were making 21 million trips to the U.S. and spending $24 billion – every year.

However, we don’t just visit or sell things to each other – we also build things together. About half of all trade with Canada takes place between related companies. Businesses, big and small, have built complex, integrated supply chains in aerospace, information technology, construction materials, food systems and more. Parts, raw material and natural resources like logs and lumber often cross borders between the U.S. and Canada multiple times before a final product rolls off an assembly line. 

That’s why continued friendship and partnership across our region, and between the U.S. and Canada at the national level, is so critical. And that’s why I’m pleased to see our national leaders come together in a new agreement that modernizes the free trade pact governing North American trade while keeping our trilateral partnership intact.

While the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) has a way to go before being implemented, and we all are still working to learn more, it’s encouraging to see national leadership demonstrate a commitment to continuing the long-standing partnership with our Canadian and Mexican neighbors.

And we must continue to advance these relationships at the state level. In August, I hosted the 42nd Annual Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers (NEG/ECP) in Vermont. The region established this important tradition in 1973, when – in a bi-national, bipartisan fashion – leaders solidified their economic, social and environmental priorities. And this tradition continues because we know that cross-border partnership, collaboration and cooperation benefits us all. 

Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont are the home of 14.7 million New Englanders. And 11.5 million people reside within the five provinces of Eastern Canada: New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Quebec. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the combined economic prowess of New England and Eastern Canada ranks us 14th in the world, just behind South Korea and ahead of Australia. 

It’s also significant to note that the U.S. and Canada form the largest integrated energy market in the world. And in the Northeast, our energy infrastructure has become increasingly interdependent, and cross-border flow of energy resources has increased since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was ratified in 1993. I hope we will continue to grow these partnerships under this new agreement, including resolving the remaining dispute over aluminum and steel tariffs.

As we demonstrated at this year’s NEG/ECP Conference, governing is about identifying shared priorities, working toward a consensus wherever possible and compromising when necessary to move forward. We know that getting the best results requires we treat all sides with respect and nurture civil engagement. The strength of our relationships, our commitment to shared priorities, and our many years of collaboration to advance them, will lead to positive outcomes for each region. We must move forward with this spirit of collaboration and respect.

The fact is NAFTA was the foundation of what we have built together over the last two decades. Strengthening that foundation will ensure we make more progress toward the more prosperous economic future we expect to pass on to our children.