Premier Kathleen Wynne released the following statement regarding Buy American provisions in New York State’s budget, which its Legislature is expected to vote on tomorrow:
“Ontario’s economic success is linked directly to our strong business relationships with the U.S. But this isn’t just a competitive advantage for our province. Our partnership underpins the competitiveness of this entire region. Both Ontario and New York State benefit enormously from a strong and integrated partnership that supports good jobs on both sides of the border. I am confident New York State’s lawmakers will carefully consider the state’s top export partner when deliberating on Buy American provisions in the budget.
With that in mind, our government stepped up efforts this month to ensure New York State’s political leaders understand these risks and consider our broader partnership. Last week, Michael Chan, Minister of International Trade, and Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development and Growth, travelled to Albany to actively seek an exemption for Canadian businesses from these Buy American provisions and they have continued to advocate on behalf of Ontario workers and businesses. Monique Smith, Ontario’s Representative in Washington, D.C., has consistently promoted Ontario’s integrated relationship across the U.S. She has also travelled to Albany and has been actively engaged with state legislators over the past several months to ensure that Ontario’s interests are well understood. We have also enlisted the support of experts in the New York State budget process to ensure our position was heard.
We are continuing to work closely with our partners in the federal and Québec governments to present a united front and ensure that Canada is top of mind to New York State legislators this week. International trade expert John Gero will now act as special advisor on trade to Ontario. Mr. Gero will report to the Minister of International Trade, Michael Chan, and will provide strategic advice and expertise to the Premier, the Secretary of the Cabinet and the broader Ontario government to advance Ontario’s trade relationship with the U.S. Mr. Gero was previously Canada’s ambassador to the World Trade Organization and chair of the General Council, the WTO’s highest-level decision making body.
I am encouraged by the reception Ontario received in New York State. Political leaders have demonstrated a clear understanding of our regions’ close linkages and are keenly aware of how much our partnership contributes to each of our economies.
While we eagerly await Friday’s outcome, I am committed to supporting Ontario workers and businesses by working to maintain and enhance our province’s strong and balanced economic relationship with our partners across the U.S.
Free trade creates good jobs for the people of Ontario, and as Premier I am working to create opportunity and security for the people of our province. I will stand up on their behalf every time.
I continue to work directly with the 27 governors for whom Ontario is a top first or second customer, including reaffirming our strong long-term partnership with Michigan with a visit recently. I look forward to fostering more connections with my state-level partners, including at the National Governors Association meeting in Rhode Island in July.
In Ontario, key cabinet ministers and I continue to engage with workers and businesses via roundtables on key issues like agriculture, manufacturing, automotive and NAFTA. We will also host the Southeastern United States – Canadian Provinces Alliance (SEUS-CP) in Toronto in June.
We will continue to advocate for free trade and open, fair and competitive access to government contracts. And we will consider all reasonable options to protect Ontario jobs in the face of Buy American policies or legislation.”