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Illinois and Ontario sign agreement to promote trade, investment

Tuesday, Jun 11, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Press release

Today, Ontario and Illinois finalized a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote increased trade, attract investment and foster ongoing collaboration across key sectors such as automotive, agriculture, energy and advanced manufacturing.

The MOU was signed by Premier Doug Ford and J.B. Pritzker, Governor of Illinois, following a meeting in Toronto. […]

Ontario and Illinois have a close trading relationship, with total trade valued at over $29 billion (CAD) in 2023. Ontario is Illinois’ second-largest export market and Illinois is Ontario’s fourth-largest export market in the U.S.

The new MOU promotes economic cooperation between the two jurisdictions by supporting regular business missions, sharing market information and promoting investment. Ontario and Illinois will also explore opportunities for cooperation on emerging technologies that are transforming industries, including sharing best practices on skills training to prepare workers for in-demand and technology intensive jobs.

In addition, both jurisdictions will establish a Procurement Cooperation Council as a forum for sharing information on procurement policies and to advance opportunities for suppliers in each jurisdiction.

“With supply chains inter-linked across North America, it’s more important than ever for Ontario and Illinois to partner on our shared economic goals to remain globally competitive,” said Vic Fedeli, Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “The MOU identifies tangible areas where we can work together to our mutual advantage. These include fostering greater two-way trade and investment, sharing best practices to boost workforce skills and expanding academic cooperation – all avenues to greater prosperity on both sides of the border.”

The agreement with Illinois is part of Ontario’s strategy for trade with the United States. As part of the strategy, Ontario is pursuing additional agreements with other state-level trading partners to improve access to investment pipelines and export opportunities for Ontario businesses.

Ontario and the U.S. build things together with deeply integrated supply chains employing millions of workers on both sides of the border. Ontario was the number one export destination for 17 U.S. states and the number two export destination for 11 U.S. states in 2023.

QUICK FACTS:

    - The new MOU will increase collaboration in sectors such as automotive, including electric, connected and autonomous technologies, agriculture, food processing and agri-food technology, advanced manufacturing and materials, life sciences, energy and information and communications technologies.

    - Ontario’s total trade with the U.S. in 2023 was valued at around $500 billion (CAD), an increase of about $100 billion (CAD) since 2018.

    - In 2023, Illinois ranked fifth in terms of foreign direct investment from U.S. states into the province, with inbound investment valued at $155 million (CAD).

    - One in five jobs in Ontario depend on trade. If Ontario were a country, it would be the U.S.’s third-largest trading partner after Mexico and China in 2023.

    - The signing with Illinois is the fourth agreement stemming from Ontario’s U.S. trade strategy and follows agreements signed with, Michigan, Nevada and Indiana.

The MOU is here.

* The ceremony


* Meanwhile… from Bloomberg

Last fall, Hershey Co. repurchased a factory outside Ottawa that it closed more than a decade earlier. Blommer Chocolate Co., a US rival, is expanding in Ontario while it shutters an 85-year-old Chicago plant. Oreo-maker Mondelez International Inc. says it has invested $250 million in Ontario manufacturing facilities just in the last few years.

Although Canada ​​​​is far too cold to grow enough sugar for its candy industry, it has managed to attract hundreds of millions of dollars of investment in recent years to expand capacity. Some of that can be attributed to a rising population, but many in the industry say it’s the long-standing protectionist measures in place south of the border that are sweetening Canada’s appeal. […]

The US sugar industry is heavily protected, and buyers such as confectioners and processed-food makers can only import certain amounts of raw and refined sugar before incurring hefty tariffs. The decades-old regulations are intended to protect US farmer profits and prevent other countries from flooding the country with sugar. But critics say it also keeps US sugar prices artificially high, burdening American sweets companies and refineries trying to operate at home. […]

The volume of sugar contained in finished goods flowing from Canada to the US last marketing year was the highest in close to two decades, Agralytica data show. Last year, $1.98 billion in chocolate and $615 million in other sugar confectioneries were shipped from Canada to the US for consumption — both all-time highs — according to data from the US Department of Agriculture. Although some of that increase can be attributed to higher chocolate prices due to cocoa’s rally, chocolate imports into the US from Canada last year were still the second-highest ever in data going back about 35 years, surpassed only by the volumes recorded for 2022.

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