Depending on where you may be in New Hampshire, the Canadian border can be just a stone’s throw away in far northern New Hampshire or less than 200 miles if you are at the border of Massachusetts. That makes Canada our neighbor and, according to speakers today at the New Hampshire-Canada Trade Council forum, a valuable one.
The daylong conference brought together officials from both sides of the 58-mile border, who talked about everything from the longstanding friendship there is between the two countries, to opportunities for small and women-owned businesses; the importance of student exchange and development of alternative energy. Speakers included Gov. John Lynch, US Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Canada Consul General Patrick Binns.
How important is Canada? Nearly 40,000 jobs in the Granite State are dependent on trade with Canada. In 2011, New Hampshire sold $650 million worth of goods over the border. As of May, the total value of our exports was $288 million, making it our largest export market this year. The primary goods sent north include industrial machinery, wood and wood products, electrical machinery and medical-related instruments.
The time is right, said Commissioner George Bald of the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development, to strengthen ties.
“We may have slowed down because of the turmoil of the economy in the past few years, but this is a good time for us to renew this relationship,” he said. “We need to understand what we both need. This won’t happen in just a few months, but it will take time.”
Michel Lefebvre, director of the Quebec Federation of Chambers of Commerce, said he is confident trade can increase 10 percent between New Hampshire and Canada.
“If we make good business with you, you will make good business with us,” he said. “We want to have more business with New Hampshire.”
Oh Canada, we’re ready.
~ Lorna Colquhoun
Division of Economic Development
Tags: Consul General Patrick Binns, George Bald, Governor John Lynch, International Trade Resource Center, New Hampshire - Canadian border, New Hampshire Department of Resources & Economic Development, New Hampshire Division of Economic Development, NH_Canada Trade Council, US Sen. Jeanne Shaheen