Canada brought its investment road show to Miami on Tuesday, trying to woo potential investors to sink their money north of the border.
At a Global Business Leaders Series luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Miami, Canadian business executives and Roxanne Dubé, the new Canadian consul general in Miami, touted Canada’s competitive advantages from low taxes, a skilled labor pool and a relatively light regulatory environment to its strong financial services and research & development sectors.
“Canada’s economic strength is stability and we do well in these volatile economic times,” said Dubé, who also emphasized Canada’s tight ties with the U.S. market.
“We are and will continue to be your best customers,” she said. “We don’t just trade goods; we make things together.”
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Craig Alexander, senior vice president and chief economist of TD Bank Group, said the fact that the U.S. economy is looking up is good news for Canada, whose economy has been slowed by the drop in energy prices.
“Compared to its other industrial country peers, the U.S. economy has been doing really well in relative terms,” he said.
Alexander predicted the U.S. economy would grow “north of 3 percent” in the next few years. “The strength will come from domestic demand,” he said.
The investment luncheon took place the same day that President Barack Obama vetoed a bill to allow construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have connected Canada’s tar sands with refineries on the Gulf Coast of Texas.
But Alexander said, “Canada is not just an energy story.” Energy, metals and mining combined add up to less than 10 percent of the Canadian economy, he said, while financial services’ share is 20 percent.
Because of the oil shock, he said, the Canadian economy will only grow about 2 percent this year, but he emphasized the stable, welcoming investment climate and “an advanced economy with a lot of opportunities.”
Alexander discussed the strong linkages between Canada and Florida and noted that the Florida economy is outperforming the national economy.
“There are an awful lot of Canadians who hide from winter in Florida,” said Alexander, who pointed out the state hosts around 3.7 million seasonal visitors from Canada who spend $4.4 billion in Florida.
Canada is not only a top Florida trading partner but also the second largest foreign investor in the state. Florida is home to 210 Canadian companies, including TD Bank, Circle K stores, BlackBerry maker Research in Motion, Bombardier Aerospace, CAE, Harland Financial Solutions and Stantec, an engineering and design firm that has 13 Florida offices, according to the Canadian consulate.
A panel of Canadian executives from the digital health technology, cyber security and accounting industries also discussed everything from Canada’s global outlook and its free-trade tendencies to research and development tax incentives and its reputation for tech innovation.
After the luncheon, development representatives from Toronto, Ottawa, Quebec and the Consider Canada City Alliance, which represented Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Waterloo, London, Halifax and Saskatoon had one-on-one meetings with business executives.
Their next stop on the investment promotion tour will be Sao Paulo.