Premier Kathleen Wynne released the following statement on her mission to Washington, D.C., including work with Canada’s Premiers:
“This mission to Washington, D.C. comes at a crucial moment for people and businesses across Ontario. Our relationship with the U.S. has never been more top of mind, and I am pleased with the outcomes of my first official visit to the U.S. capital this year. Over three days, I met with government and business leaders to promote Ontario’s economic interests and to reinforce just how important our relationship is to the U.S. economy as well.
The trade relationship between Canada and the United States is one of the world’s most prosperous and mutually beneficial partnerships, and Ontario plays a central role. The U.S. is Ontario’s top trading partner, and Ontario is a top customer for more than half of the American states.
With the impending renegotiation of NAFTA, U.S. federal lawmakers are making decisions that could have a significant impact on this relationship, and on Ontario. As I have said, we will not take a wait-and-see approach to these discussions. This mission and the meetings I held in Washington provided another opportunity to engage with U.S. officials and ensure Ontario’s position on free trade is well understood.
I had productive discussions with Senator Orrin Hatch (R) of Utah, the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee; Senator Pat Roberts (R) from Kansas, the Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee; as well as Maryland Congressman Steny Hoyer (D), the Minority Whip in the House of Representatives; Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal (D), the Ranking Member on the House Committee on Ways and Means; and Wisconsin Congressman Ron Kind (D), a Senior Member on the House Committee on Ways and Means. I also had the opportunity to meet with Sarah Kemp, the Deputy Under Secretary for International Trade in the U.S. Department of Commerce; as well as Stephen Vaughn, the General Counsel of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).
We talked about how trade is benefitting people on both sides of the border, and how Ontario and Canada continue to be strong, reliable partners with the U.S. I highlighted our efforts to drive innovation, connect businesses across the border, deliver supply-chain efficiency and ensure that the U.S. and Ontario continue to be closely integrated, creating more opportunity for both economies. I also reiterated the need to resist protectionist Buy American policies that will ultimately harm businesses and workers in the U.S. and in Canada.
Having these conversations at the U.S. federal level allows us to build on our strong trade relationship and continue to advance the issues that matter most to both the U.S. and Canada. I look forward to continuing this engagement over the summer, including at the National Governors Association meeting in Rhode Island this July.
As Premier, I will continue to stand up for the people of Ontario and champion the free trade and open borders that create good jobs for our workers and serve as the foundation of the most successful bilateral partnership in the world.”