Opinion | A Canadian delegation has arrived in St. Louis. Here's what it's focused on.

March 27, 2022

By David Usher – Canada's consul general in Chicago, where he represents the government of Canada in Illinois, Missouri and Wisconsin.

Did you know that, according to an American Community Survey, 12,700 Missourians claim French-Canadian ancestry? That 4,500 Missourians were born in Canada? That at the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis, Canada won the third-most medals, and Peter Deer, an Iroquois, was the first Indigenous person to represent Canada outside of its borders? These are some of the things I have been reading about ahead of my visit to St. Louis.

These longstanding ties, along with an unparalleled Canada-U.S. defense relationship forged by shared geography, common values and interests, provide the basis for a reciprocal trade relationship built on long-standing binational supply chains. Over the next three days (March 23-25), I am excited to be here in this city for my first visit outside of Chicago, where I arrived from Canada only days ago. I will be in St. Louis, along with my team at the Consulate General of Canada in Chicago and a Canadian business delegation, to strengthen our relationships and to promote trade, innovation and investment between Canada and Missouri.

Why should St. Louis pay attention to Canada? Many reasons. First, we are your biggest customer: Canada is your state’s most important trading partner and export market. We recently received the annual numbers for trade between Missouri and Canada for 2021 – and they’re good. Last year, Missouri’s trade in goods with Canada was worth $11.3 billion. That’s a 25.5% increase from 2020. This tells us that despite global supply chain challenges, our economic recovery is under way, and we want to see that continue.

Furthermore, we have the right framework for recovery in place: We renewed our commitment to North America in 2020, with the coming into force of the United States-Canada-Mexico Agreement (USMCA). The modernized USMCA, which preserves key elements of NAFTA, addresses 21st century trade challenges, reduces red tape at the border, and provides enhanced predictability and stability for workers and businesses, is a solid foundation to grow our trade relationship.

For Missouri companies looking to grow their presence abroad, Canada also had a lot to offer. At present, the Canadian economy is expected to grow 4.9% in 2022. According to the World Bank, Canada is the easiest place to start a business in the G20, and at 26.2%, Canada’s combined federal-provincial corporate income tax rate is among the lowest in the G7. Canada also offers one of the most generous research and development tax incentives in the G7 and leads the G7 in post-secondary R&D spending.

On March 24, we have a fantastic program at Venture Café St. Louis that will showcase the Canadian innovation ecosystem and include presentations from four provinces, Canadian companies, Canada’s advanced manufacturing supercluster, the Toronto Stock Exchange and more – basically everything you need to know about this important market. With St. Louis’ outward-facing approach and the rich innovation community at Cortex, we’re really excited about this program and invite you to join us there.

While I am in St. Louis, I am also scheduled to meet with Mayor Tishaura Jones, several St. Louis-based companies and to connect with our friends at World Trade Center St. Louis, Greater St. Louis Inc. and World Affairs Council of St. Louis. I will of course be working closely with Sonette Magnus, Canada’s Honorary Consul here in St. Louis, an amazing presence in her own right who is also working to increase collaboration and trade between Canada and Missouri.

I look forward to exploring how we can increase ties between Canada and this great city.

David Usher
Consul General of Canada in Chicago