Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings will lead a trade mission to Canada June 11-16.
The trip will take the parties to Toronto and Montreal to promote economic development, business opportunities and tourism with the Dallas and Fort Worth region.
As usual, transportation will play a key role, with discussions about the role that international flights at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport play in the growing connections between North Texas and leading Canadian metro areas.
Canada is Texas’ third largest trade partner, and DFW accounts for a large part of the import-export activity, so the mission is especially timely amid renewed focus on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), according to a news release from both mayors.
In Toronto, the mayors will be speaking on a panel on the possible modernization of NAFTA, “Local Impact, National Concern,” at the CD Howe Institute, a not-for-profit research institute, an influential Canadian think tank.
Besides the mayors, the other panelist will be Steve Verheul, Canada’s chief negotiator in NAFTA talks with Washington.
The mission’s delegates will be meeting province cabinet ministers, business executives and regional and local leaders in Toronto and Montreal, showcasing the benefits of operating in North Texas and touting the region’s economic development efforts, tourism opportunities and investments.
“As ambassadors for our region, I look forward to discussing mutual benefits of doing business, visiting and partnering in Fort Worth,” said Price in a news release. “As we learn and collaborate with our neighbors in Toronto and Montreal, we anticipate seeing firsthand how their efforts to create stronger cities mirror some of our local efforts to improve the quality of life of our citizens.
The mission delegation is comprised of the mayors, who serve on the DFW Airport Board of Directors, DFW Board Chairman Sam Coats and senior airport executives, along with representatives of the Dallas Regional Chamber, the Fort Worth Chamber, Visit Dallas, the Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau and others, including senior leadership from Axxess Technologies, Bell Helicopter, Bell Nunnally & Martin LLP, Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s, Dallas Innovation Alliance, Dunaway Associates, NEC Corporation of America, North Texas Commission, Texas Central Partners, and Uber Technologies. The office of the Consulate General of Canada in Dallas and the Québec Government Office in Texas also helped support the trade mission.
In Toronto, meetings are planned with:
• Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, who in previous government postings oversaw transportation, education and municipal affairs.
• Ontario International Trade Minister Michael Chan, discussing trade interests and strategies between the DFW region and the province of Ontario, and identifying potential economic opportunities.
• Toronto Mayor John Tory, who has focused on infrastructure improvement, including promoting mass transit and subway lines to reduce traffic congestion.
• Executives from the Canadian travel community and representatives of DFW International Airport, Visit Dallas and Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau to promote DFW Airport and the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth.
• Toronto’s Region Board of Trade, for a seminar on urban innovation and mobility.
In Montreal, the mayors will participate in a panel discussion at the Conference of Montreal. With the Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, the panelists will discuss the challenges and opportunities facing growing cities in need of sustainable mobility solutions. The Conference of Montreal is one of four annual conferences offered by the International Economic Forum of the Americas. This Davos-like summit gathers heads of state and government, business leaders, academia and more to discuss major economic challenges and opportunities.
Other meetings are planned with:
• Dominique Anglade, Quebec’s minister of Economy, Science and Innovation, who until recently was president and CEO of Montréal International, for discussing trade relations and some business opportunities, especially in the aerospace and in the new digital economy.
• Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal for a “Doing Business in DFW” seminar in which Mayors Price and Rawlings will discuss recent successes and upcoming opportunities in the DFW region, supplemented by testimonials from key business leaders, including Shinsuke Takahashi, President and CEO of NEC Corporation of America in DFW and Mark Galardo, vice president of Network Planning for Air Canada in Quebec. The Montreal chamber has 3,000 companies in its membership.
• Montreal Smart Cities Tour, in which officials will share their experience in the smart cities initiative that provides a framework for transformational projects that affect every aspect of life, including infrastructure, public services or social issues. The Smart and Digital City Office targets five main areas of activity: urban mobility, direct services to citizens, quality of life, the democratic process and economic development.
• Air Canada, the country’s largest airline, discussing the ongoing relationship between DFW Airport and Air Canada, recent air service expansion at DFW and future opportunities in the development of technology, operations and passenger experience.
More than 125 Canadian companies operate in the DFW area, including Aldo, Bombardier Aerospace, C.A.T. Global, Lululemon Athletica and Learjet. The region also is a big tourism draw, as Canadians account for more than 260,000 visitors to the DFW area annually. That’s bolstered by recent partnerships with airlines, such as Air Canada, which recently launched a nonstop daily flight to Montreal.