Press-Republican

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April 1, 2013

Canada-US relationship touted

PLATTSBURGH — The consul general of Canada for New York sees the vital importance of the U.S.-Canada relationship, particularly in New York.

Speaking at the North Country Chamber of Commerce recently, Consul General John Prato said the cross-border relationship is especially important in Plattsburgh because of the city’s proximity to Montreal and the number of Canadian companies that have established operations here.

“I think a prosperous Plattsburgh is good for Canada and good for Quebec, in particular,” he said.

The trade relationship between the United States and Canada totaled $742 billion last year, Prato said. Canada’s next largest two-way trade partnership is $70 billion.

Eight million jobs in the United States depend on the relationship with Canada, he continued. That includes slightly less than 600,000 jobs in New York state.

LARGEST OIL SUPPLIER

The consulate general has three priorities, the first being in the area of finance, investment and innovation.

Part of that is to help Canadian companies expand into the United States. Canada has many terrific startup companies, and one of the best ways to help them continue to grow is to expand into the U.S. market, Prato said.

“This area (North Country) is a no-brainer for businesses in Canada.”

The second priority is in the field of energy and the environment, including the clean, reliable hydroelectricity that primarily comes from the Province of Quebec.

Prato said many people are surprised to learn Canada is the largest supplier of oil to the United States. He said the positive relationship between the two countries ensures it is a safe and secure supply.

Congressman Bill Owens (D-Plattsburgh) said he doesn’t think enough legislators in Washington, D.C., or Albany realize the importance of the relationship shared by Canada and United States. More focus is needed, he said, on educating government officials and the general populace on that issue.

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