ROCKFORD, Jan. 15 — Consul General of Canada Roy Norton shared insight about the growing opportunities in U.S.-Canada trade with more than 100 business and government leaders from the Rockford Region on Jan. 15 at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center.
Norton was the keynote speaker for “Canada and the Midwest: International Trade Opportunities,” presented by the Rockford Area Economic Development Council and the National Defense Industry Association, Great Lakes Chapter.
Canada is Illinois’ largest trading partner, representing 30.6 percent of Illinois’ exports. Our state’s exports to the country have grown rapidly as well: up 35 percent from 2010 to 2013 and slightly faster than overall export growth of 32 percent.
“The Rockford area is important to Canada. We are the USA’s — and Illinois’ — best customer. Ours is an exceptional trade and investment relationship. And, befitting best friends and closest allies, we enjoy outstanding defense and security ties,” Norton said.
Other important statistics:
At least five Canadian companies invest in the Rockford Region, representing the financial and intermodal logistics industries: BMO Harris Bank, Canadian National, Canadian Pacific, Gerber Collision & Glass and RBC Wealth Management.
Another northern Illinois connection is a recent new Rockford Area Aerospace Network member: Safety Socket — a Gilberts manufacturer of high-strength, made-to-print fasteners serving the aerospace, military and commercial marketplace — sells products used by three companies in Canada: Siemens Milltronics, General Dynamics and Bombardier.
That connection is also personal for Safety Socket President Jim Erbs: “My wife is Canadian, and hence, our three sons are half-Canadian. We have a summer cottage on Georgian Bay north of Toronto, and we spend an estimated month each year there.”
“Our state’s equipment and machinery exports to Canada are of great significance, and overall, 344,300 jobs in Illinois depend on Canada-U.S. trade and investment,” said Carrie Zethmayr, RAEDC executive director of trade and investment. “We are grateful to have Mr. Norton’s commitment of time today and for the long haul.”
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