Joined by nearly two dozen Kentucky companies and several trade partners, Governor Steve Beshear is set to lead an international business trade mission next week to Canada.
With stops in Montreal and Toronto, the first Kentucky Export Initiative (KEI) trade mission seeks to increase commerce between Kentucky and Canada.
"Exporting is vital to our economic strength, and it's crucial that we continue to enhance those ties and create long-lasting and prosperous business relationships," said Gov. Beshear. "This trip is an opportunity to showcase that Kentucky is open for business and offers a wide variety of excellent products and services."
Kentucky's business ties to Canada play a major factor in the Commonwealth's economy, with an estimated $11 billion in bilateral trade between Canada and Kentucky. Canada is Kentucky's number one trade destination, with $7.3 billion in Kentucky products and services exported to Canada in 2012. Overall, Kentucky's exports to 199 nations in 2012 totaled $22 billion, setting an all-time record.
The Kentucky delegation includes more than 50 individuals representing more than 20 companies and 11 organizations from across the Commonwealth. The trade mission, which runs from June 3 through June 7, will feature a reception to celebrate and help build business relationships between Kentucky and Canadian companies.
Gov. Beshear created KEI to bring together agencies and organizations to help facilitate international trade opportunities for Kentucky businesses. Comprised of government entities, business organizations and trade experts, the KEI partnership includes the Cabinet for Economic Development, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Kentucky Association of Manufacturers (KAM), World Trade Center Kentucky and Kentucky Association for Economic Development (KAED).
"As Kentucky's largest and closest export destination, the Canadian market offers some of the best opportunities for both first-time and experienced exporters," said Greg Higdon, KAM president and CEO. "I'm excited to take part in this trade mission to Canada because of the meetings that will take place between Kentucky manufacturers and their Canadian counterparts, and the opportunities for partnerships these meetings may generate."
"KentuckyUnited, an initiative of Kentucky Association for Economic Development, is about partnerships in economic development, and our group understands that we have to be focused on the global marketplace," said Hal B. Goode, KAED president and CEO. "With the current surge of exporting with Canada, Kentucky businesses will have an opportunity on this trade mission to increase capital investment that will ultimately equal job creation."
"This trade mission is an outstanding opportunity for Kentucky businesses -- even those that have never exported -- to connect with potential partners in Canada and explore possibilities for selling our products to our neighbors across the border," said Dave Adkisson, president and CEO, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. "There is a reason Canada is Kentucky's number one trading partner. And we can build on that relationship by going up there, telling them what we have to offer and learning more about what products and services Canada needs from us."
"The Kentucky Export Initiative trade and business mission to Canada is a special opportunity for Kentucky businesses," said Ed Webb, president and CEO, World Trade Center Kentucky. "Through prearranged sessions, KEI mission participants will meet one on one with Canadian businesses to promote and sell their products and services. These new partnerships will be a win-win for our attendees and for the Commonwealth of Kentucky."