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Ontario Seeks to Strengthen Michigan-Ontario Manufacturing and Economic Competitiveness

This article appeared in the January/February 2022 issue of MiMfg Magazine. Read the full issue and find past issues online.

There is much to be optimistic about with respect to the Ontario-Michigan relationship.

We are close friends, partners and neighbors. We are also each other’s number one trading partner.

Two-way trade between Ontario and Michigan is worth approximately $45 billion annually. Much of this economic impact represents manufactured goods crossing the Michigan-Ontario border every day.

Many auto parts and vehicles cross the border multiple times during the assembly process, making our strong relationship absolutely vital to the success of the North American automotive industry.

Michigan does many things very well. This is especially true of Michigan’s manufacturers. Their reputation for quality and reliability is well earned and common knowledge. My discussions with stakeholders, business leaders and elected representatives confirm this fact. My recent trip to Michigan to discuss all things Ontario-Michigan with important stakeholders like the MMA further reinforced this view.

Ontario and Michigan have much in common: skilled labor, talented people, leaders in tech and innovation, dependable infrastructure and reliable supply chains. These advantages are especially important to a strong, competitive economic rebound as we emerge from the pandemic.

Early in 2022, Ontario and Michigan will discuss a Strategic Investment Partnership Agreement (SIPA). This is an aspirational document meant to drive cooperation, jobs and economic growth. Its goal is to set a structure for deepening an already deep relationship. The agreement will also raise awareness of the importance of the Ontario-Michigan relationship and underscore the importance of our strategic trading partnership.

The Ontario-Michigan relationship is vital to support the economic security of the entire Great Lakes Region. There are times when we work jointly on projects. There are, and will also be, times when Ontario and Michigan will compete against each other. That is good for business and the people of our region. The important point is that, regardless of whether Michigan or Ontario wins, the region wins.

The proposed SIPA will do many things. It will enhance opportunities for cooperation, make us better partners and unleash the region’s potential. Michigan is full of exciting opportunities and companies, as is Ontario. Together we can do great things, delivering mutual prosperity and success to Americans and Canadians. I look forward to working with Michigan’s government leaders, business owners and workers to make this a reality.

The Ontario Agent-General office in Chicago was formed about a year ago to put a laser focus on growing economic opportunities across the region. I relish my role to connect with Michigan’s government and business leaders and to open doors between Michigan and Ontario businesses.

I admire the work of the MMA to advance the success of Michigan’s venerable manufacturing community and appreciate the association’s hand of friendship and help toward realizing a strong, competitive regional manufacturing sector.

About the Author

Earl ProvostEarl Provost, BA, MPS is Ontario Agent General. Previously, he served as Senior Policy Advisor, Intergovernmental Affairs, in the Office of the Premier, Government of Ontario. In this role, he provided strategic guidance to the Government of Ontario on various issues including interprovincial trade. Based in Chicago, he may be reached at 773-703-5151 or earl.provost@international.gc.ca.