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Sorry lovers, Virginia is for Canada, too

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July 27, 2023

As Canada’s Consul General to Virginia, I recently had the privilege of visiting the city of Richmond, adding my number to the approximately half a million Canadians who visit the Old Dominion each year. Meeting with a variety of leaders allowed me to highlight the integral relationship that Virginia shares with Canada, one with profound economic implications for both our regions.

Canada is Virginia’s No. 1 customer. Virginia sells more goods to Canada than it does to its next largest export market (China). There are over 260 Canadian-owned businesses operating in Virginia, contributing 16,550 jobs and $1 billion in salaries throughout the commonwealth. These Canadian-owned companies, including Stantec, Nutrien Ag Solutions, and CAE, are major contributors to Virginia’s economy. Over 280,000 jobs in Virginia depend on trade and investment with Canada.

I had the honor of joining Canada’s Ambassador to the United States, Kirsten Hillman, for a meeting with Gov. Glenn Youngkin and his team. We explored exciting prospects for collaboration on trade, critical minerals and nuclear energy and Small Modular Reactor (SMR) technology. I look forward to leveraging our shared strengths to drive economic growth.

My meetings with Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears, the Virginia Chamber, and other business leaders were equally productive. I highlighted the fact that Virginia exports close to $3.5 billion in goods to Canada annually. My hosts appreciated the mutual benefits of our trade relationship and were interested in exploring additional opportunities in the future.

Canada and the United States have been trusted trading partners and allies for decades because we recognize that our relationship is mutually beneficial. That deep partnership with Canada is flourishing in Virginia. Let’s continue to build on this.

Arun Alexander, Canada’s Consul General to Virginia and Deputy Ambassador to the Embassy of Canada to the United States of America.

Originally published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch on July 27, 2023.