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Gov. Hogan signs economic development agreement with Ontario counterpart

December 17th, 2020 by WCBC Radio

Gov. Larry Hogan and Ontario Premier Doug Ford on Thursday finalized a strategic investment and procurement agreement to boost economic ties between the state and the Canadian province.

The agreement, one of many Maryland now has with international state and provincial governments, focuses on job creation in the manufacturing, infrastructure and agriculture sectors. The deal was signed virtually, with Maryland and Ontario officials convening via Zoom.

“Today's agreement will strengthen an already vibrant relationship between Maryland and Ontario by fostering economic growth and workforce development, enhancing cooperation, attracting investment, and reducing trade barriers,” Hogan said in a statement. “I’m confident that this renewed and expanded partnership will be mutually beneficial to both of our regions’ ongoing economic recoveries, and we look forward to continuing to promote this incredible partnership with the people of Ontario for many years to come.”

The signing was followed by a roundtable hosted by the Canadian American Business Council and the Wilson Center.

“This historic agreement provides us with a tremendous opportunity to leverage our strong trade ties to accelerate the mutual recovery of our two economies,” Ford said. “Whether it’s securing our PPE or auto sector supply chains, this partnership can help us both overcome our current challenges, create jobs, and help businesses on both sides of the border grow and prosper.”

The two jurisdictions plan to share best practices for emergency preparedness. The agreement also sets up a council to improve transparency and engagement on government procurement.

There are more than 130 Canadian companies operating in Maryland, and more than 205,500 Maryland jobs depend on Canadian trade and investment, state officials say. More than $1.8 billion in goods were traded between Ontario and Maryland last year. Canada was Maryland's second-largest trading partner in 2019.

“Ontario has been an outstanding trading partner for Maryland, and this historic agreement will strengthen both economies by boosting foreign direct investment and giving our respective companies even greater opportunities to partner,” said Commerce Secretary Kelly M. Schulz. “Maryland and Ontario share many strengths, and it is more important than ever that we work together to address our global challenges.”

In 2017, Hogan led an economic mission to Toronto and Montreal. In October, Maryland and Quebec officials signed a cooperative agreement to promote trade and innovation in life sciences and public health.