Governor Phil Scott discusses trade trip to Montreal
Vermont Governor Phil Scott and members of his administration were in Montreal last week to attend the International Aerospace Innovation Forum and meet with government and business leaders. During a press briefing Tuesday, Scott explained why the trip was important for the state and its economy.
Vermont’s Republican governor made his eighth official trip to Canada on September 6th and 7th for a trade mission to meet with officials from Canadian companies and political leaders.
Scott noted that while many states have official offices in Washington D.C., Vermont does not, having opted instead to open one in Montreal last year.
“Canada, and Quebec in particular, is that important to us. We believe our Montreal-based office will start more conversations, open more doors, and lead to more opportunities to build on the Quebec-Vermont relationship. With $5 billion in trade, Quebec is Vermont’s largest international trading partner, and we’re Québec’s 2nd largest economic partner in New England. But our connection goes beyond just trade because we also build things together. About half of all trade with Canada takes place between related companies. This also creates jobs. And let’s not forget that tourism also plays an important role.”
Agency of Commerce and Community Development Secretary Lindsay Kurrle said the innovation forum and concurrent trade mission was an opportunity to personally engage with business leaders after two years of virtual interactions due to the pandemic.
“There is a lot of potential to expand economic opportunities between Vermont and Canada. Our proximity to the border and ease of access to Montreal continue to be great assets and that access will only get easier as Autoroute 35, which replaces the old secondary route, is built with plans to eventually intersect directly with I-89. Overall we feel like the trip was an incredible success and we feel this was a great opportunity by making ourselves accessible to government and business officials in Canada.”
Governor Scott and Vermont Economic Development Commissioner Joan Goldstein admitted there is stiff competition with other states to attract the Canadian companies.
“I met with one company and they’re looking at Oklahoma and it’s because of the tax advantages and a lot of other advantages as well. But they love Vermont and really appreciate the culture, the proximity and as close as it is to drive. So, it’s difficult.”
Goldstein: “That’s why we can’t take anything for granted. We also want these Canadian companies to know that we do have incentive programs. And the Governor having a presence there really matters.”
Canada is Vermont’s largest trading partner and according to Commissioner Goldstein, in 2021 Vermont exported $830 million to, and imported $2.2 billion in goods from Canada.