Governor Peter Shumlin, President Pro Tem John Campbell, Speaker of the House Shap Smith, and Tom Torti, President of the Lake Champlain Chamber of Commerce, today announced expanded commitments to Vermont-Quebec economic development, during a prospect visit by companies interested in learning more about doing business in Vermont. The event, hosted by the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce, is part of their Vermont-Quebec Enterprise Initiative; an effort to position Vermont as the location of choice for Quebec companies looking to locate operations in the United States.
“I am very pleased to join LCRCC, Commerce International Quebec Monteregie Ouest, and Vermont and Quebec business leaders to strengthen our collective economic ties and highlight our efforts to place an even higher priority on working with our partners in Quebec and beyond”, said Gov. Shumlin. “Vermont and Quebec share more than just a border. We have a strong history of economic ties and business opportunities to build upon.”
Since 2003, a Vermont-Quebec cooperation agreement has been in place on issues critical to both governments. Issues in the agreement include economic development, energy, the environment, security, tourism, transportation, and agriculture. A recent visit by Quebec Premier Couillard to Burlington reaffirmed both governments’ commitment to strengthening this partnership.
The LCRCC has increased its longstanding Vermont-Canadian trade work in the past several months to ensure that Vermont is not only viewed as a premier vacation destination but also a desirable location for Quebec and other Canada-based businesses to base U.S. operations and supply chain partners. In March, LCRCC hosted a meeting between the Premier and Governor with key Vermont business interests and economic development leaders. During that visit, the Premier and Governor Shumlin agreed to work concretely to further Vermont-Quebec economic and direct business ties through their respective representatives, trade organizations, and private partners.
The Governor and the Vermont Legislature greatly assisted these efforts by providing in this year’s economic development bill funding for not only statewide economic development marketing but also $100,000 specifically for targeted marketing and business expansion initiatives to Quebec-based businesses, including conducting business outreach activities, promoting partnerships with Vermont businesses throughout the State, and facilitating site selection opportunities throughout the State.
"The time is right for us to step up our efforts to partner with Quebec business interests here in Vermont,” said President Pro Tem John Campbell and Speaker Shap Smith. “The Legislature’s support of funding to advance this effort will help strengthen trade opportunities and promote Vermont as a place for new investment from Quebec businesses in need of supply chain and other U.S.-based opportunities."
The Vermont-Quebec Enterprise Initiative is a cooperative effort guided by the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, in conjunction with the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce and its collaborative partner the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation (GBIC). Increased support of recruitment and business expansion activities will assist the Agency and its partners with their efforts to support a thriving private sector economy.
The Agency of Commerce and Community Development will deploy the funding appropriated by the Legislature to the LCRCC to allow the Vermont-Quebec Enterprise Initiative to strengthen its Quebec-Vermont business ties statewide, through creation of direct business-to-business opportunities, promotion of Vermont’s assets to site selectors and consultants and other projects to promote investment. From Husky to Revision and Appalachian Flooring, Vermont has a history of success with U.S.-based locations for Canadian companies but it must do more to build upon these past successes.
Tom Torti, President of the Lake Champlain Chamber of Commerce, stressed the importance of enhancing Vermont’s position as home to a thriving business ecosystem. “I look forward to working with the Governor and his team further this vision,” Torti said. “We have a great story to tell and many strong assets that we will to capitalize upon, including our excellent workforce training programs, robust telecommunications infrastructure, world class academic and medical institutions, and accessible governmental partners, all supported by employees known for their unrivaled work ethic.”