Governor Walker returns to Wisconsin after trade mission to Canada, Wisconsin’s largest export destination
MADISON -- Governor Scott Walker and representatives of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) returned to Wisconsin Wednesday, June 17th following a business development mission to Canada.
“This mission enabled us to further strengthen and build relationships with our neighbors to the north and to personally talk to Canadian business leaders and others about why Wisconsin merits serious consideration for future investment,” Governor Walker said. “These meetings are a great opportunity to showcase Wisconsin’s strengths, as well as learn more about the needs of these companies. We look forward to continued discussions on how Wisconsin is uniquely positioned as a great place for them to grow and expand their businesses.”
During the trip to Montreal, Ottawa, and Québec City, Governor Walker and WEDC officials met with dozens of business executives at individual companies, as well as in group settings, including a Wisconsin reception on Tuesday night. The Wisconsin delegation focused specifically on companies currently considering expanding or investing in the U.S. The delegation also met with companies with existing facilities in Wisconsin to discuss business retention and the possibility of increasing their investments in the state.
Before leaving Canada Wednesday morning, Governor Walker and the delegation met in Montreal with executives of BRP Inc., a Canadian company that is a world leader in motorized recreational vehicles and powersports engines. BRP has a facility in Racine County that employs about 250 workers.
Governor Walker met with Alain Villemure, the vice president and general manager of Marine Propulsion Systems Division of BRP, and other executives to receive an update on the company’s operations in Sturtevant and to discuss how Wisconsin’s strengths in manufacturing could be further leveraged to support BRP's growth.
“We were pleased to welcome Governor Walker in Montreal to discuss our presence in Wisconsin,” Villemure said. “In 2001, we chose Sturtevant, Wisconsin, to set up our Global Evinrude center of excellence, where we design, engineer and manufacture all our Evinrude Etec engines which are distributed in over 100 countries around the world.”
In addition to taking part in meetings with business leaders, Governor Walker also attended and spoke at the 2015 Leadership Summit of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers in Québec City. The summit, which was hosted by the Council of Great Lakes Governors, focused primarily on regional economic clusters, maritime transportation, and environmental initiatives.
Governor Walker also met with this week with Canadian government leaders, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, and received a briefing from the team at the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa.
Governor Walker was joined on the trip by Katy Sinnott, vice president of International Business Development for WEDC, and Kristie Pulvermacher, WEDC’s business attraction and foreign direct investment manager. The mission was part of WEDC’s trade and foreign direct investment strategy, which focuses on encouraging international businesses to invest in Wisconsin. The meetings targeted companies in the state’s key industry sectors, such as manufacturing, agriculture, energy, water technology, bioscience, medical devices, and food processing.
Canada is Wisconsin’s largest export destination, with state companies sending nearly $8 billion in goods to the country in 2014—up 5.5 percent from the previous year. Top state exports to Canada are industrial and electrical machinery, vehicles, paper products, and plastics. Wisconsin also imported $4.5 billion in goods from Canada in 2014, primarily plastics, paper, and wood products.