This week, business leaders from across the Southeastern United States and Canada are meeting in Mobile to talk about trade and investment opportunities.
One thing looming over the discussions, the new tariffs President Donald Trump announced on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union.
A special relationship between Canada and six southeast states, including Alabama, has been happening for 11 years now.
“The relationship between the southeast and Canada is strong, it is deep, it is broad,” said Nadia Theodore, the Consul General of Canada for the Southeast United States.
The leaders are meeting this week in Mobile, working to create opportunities for businesses to come together to discuss joint ventures between the two countries.
“This is a very critical relationship and this is a very opportune time for us to be talking about the partnership,” said Greg Canfield, the Alabama Secretary of Commerce.
Just last week, President Donald Trump announced the tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada.
“Canada is Alabama’s number one trade partner,” said Canfield.
“I have a good working relationship with President Trump and I certainly look forward to again letting him know our firm standings in support of the firms we have in our state that use those products,” said Governor Kay Ivey.
The tariffs have been brought up during the meetings between the business leaders of the two countries.
“The state of Alabama, we have a net export gain in our trade relationship, we co-assemble vehicles, we’re sharing technology and the manufacture of aircraft through the Airbus and Bombardier C-series project that we hope to see finalized and take shape here in Mobile,” said Canfield.
“I think it is very significant for our entire relationship, because steel and aluminum are about 15% of our exports to the United States, a lot of which goes into the SEUS states, like Alabama and Tennessee for instance,” said Eric Marquis, the Assistant Deputy Minister for the United States at the Quebec government.
Officials say it’s too soon to discuss if this will impact the Airbus and Bombardier project, but Canadian officials say the tariffs will have a disruptive effect on the whole trade relationship.
“Felt yes in Canada, but very much so in the United States as well,” said Marquis.
Officials at the Southeast US and Canada Province Alliance are working to make sure that their relationship stays strong.