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Address by Minister Van Loan to International Builders’ Show “Gateway to the Americas” Networking Breakfast

No. 2011/2 - Orlando, Florida - January 13, 2011

Check Against Delivery

The Canada-United States trade partnership is an example of free trade success to the world.

Canada is the number one trading partner for the United States, and we are proud to be taking part in this year’s International Builders’ Show here in Orlando.

Events such as this one help to drive our trade and investment partnership forward.

Canada is one of Florida’s top economic partners.

A recent study estimated that our trade supported approximately 465,000 jobs in Florida.

Canada is among Florida’s largest foreign investors, and it’s the state’s leading source of international tourists—especially at this time of year.

Florida is home to a welcoming, flexible business environment—one that is drawing great interest from Canadian firms, including the many firms showcased here in Orlando this week.

As the gateway to the Americas, Florida is also a strategic market for Canada.

Canadian companies are interested in tapping into the growing supply chains, investment ties and vibrant cultural links that connect Florida to Latin America and the Caribbean.

Canada’s own ties to Latin America and the Caribbean have been growing stronger in recent years.

Our government’s ambitious free trade agenda has already resulted in free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and Peru.

We are in discussions to expand the existing first-generation free trade agreements with Chile and Costa Rica and we are in free trade negotiations with the Caribbean Community, the Dominican Republic and the Central America Four: El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

As we continue forging these ties to the south, we’re committed to deepening our business and investment partnership with Florida.

Canada offers many advantages as an investment destination and partner for global business:

  • the lowest taxes on new business investment in the G-7 this year and the lowest corporate income tax rate in the G-7 by 2012;
  • the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio in the G-7;
  • the fastest economic growth in the G-7 this year, according to the International Monetary Fund;
  • the world’s soundest banking system, according to the World Economic Forum;
  • the highest proportion of post-secondary graduates in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development;
  • the best place to invest, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit;
  • one of the most generous research and development [R & D] tax incentives in the world;
  • the lowest business and R & D costs in the G-7, according to Competitive Alternatives 2010, a publication of the accounting and consulting firm KPMG; and
  • an outstanding quality of life.

As the world’s second-largest nation by area, with some of the most varied and challenging geography anywhere on the planet, Canada is also a leading producer of construction materials.

Canadian building materials have proven themselves in a variety of environments: extreme sub-zero temperatures, desert-like conditions, the Prairies, the Rocky Mountains, three oceans and the Great Lakes.

These materials and products are being used around the world.

Canada’s commitment to research and development has resulted in Canadian-engineered wood products that are world-renowned for their quality and durability.

Today, I’d like to encourage the business community in the United States to take the opportunity offered by the International Builders’ Show and discover Canada’s many advantages as a business partner.

Once again, thank you for the opportunity to join you here today. I wish you a pleasant and productive visit to Orlando, and to this year’s International Builders’ Show.

Thank you.