Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield is leading an Alabama delegation to Savannah, Georgia, for the Southeastern United States-Canadian Provinces Alliance Conference, a high-level gathering that reinforces common economic ties, expands commercial opportunities and broadens cultural exchange.
SEUS-CP, as the event is known, runs through Tuesday and features networking opportunities, business-to-business meetings and panel discussions on topics including supply chain resiliency, sustainable agriculture and electric vehicle adoption.
Canfield said the conference represents a platform that allows representatives from six Southeastern states and six Canadian provinces to build bonds that can lead to new commercial and cultural possibilities.
“Over many decades, we have built a partnership that relies on respect, discovers meaningful pathways to collaborate, fosters innovative solutions and advances common goals,” he said. “This is a special relationship, and its benefits are self-evident. Working closely together, we have driven economic growth, sparked job creation and generated new opportunities.”
For Alabama, the relationship is rewarding. Canada ranks as a Top 5 foreign investor in the state, as well as a major trade partner. Alabama is home to more than 80 Canadian companies.
Since 2015, Canadian companies have invested almost $1.5 billion into Alabama ventures, creating more than 2,300 jobs, according to Alabama Department of Commerce data.
Meanwhile, Canada is Alabama’s second-largest export market, with shipments valued at $3.5 billion in 2021, a figure that jumped 18% from the prior year. Alabama is also a top U.S. destination for goods from Canada, with imports topping $3 billion last year.
Christina Stimpson, director of the Office of International Trade at the Commerce Department, said Alabama is fortunate to be a part of an association that facilitates relationship-building between the state and Canada.
“Canada is a critically important market for Alabama, and this conference features business matchmaking to encourage trade and business development,” Stimpson said.
“For Alabama exporters and export-capable companies, this is a great conference for market research and making Canadian contacts.”
Alabama companies represented at the conference include:
- Page & Jones Inc., a shipping logistics firm based in Mobile.
- SWJ Technology LLC, a Tuscaloosa firm that provides engineering, planning and project management services to assist various industries.
- Excelsior Staffing, a staffing firm based in Tuscaloosa.
- Automation + Controls Engineering (ACE), a Mobile firm offering specialized engineering services to various industries.
Jay Paden, business operations manager at ACE, said the conference will allow his company to explore new connections with potential partners in Canada.
“We seek partners, suppliers and contacts who share the company’s values and believe this is a fantastic opportunity to develop relationships domestically and with new Canadian partners,” Paden said. “ACE is proud to be ‘Made in Alabama’ and will continue to provide world-class qualitative service to all of its customers.”
The SEUS-CP Alliance was established in 2007 to enhance trade and investment, promote business partnerships and encourage technological exchanges among the member states and Canadian provinces.
Member states from the Southeast are Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Canadian members are New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Quebec.
This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.