DALLAS & FORT WORTH, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price announced today they would be leading a trade mission June 11-16 to Toronto and Montreal to promote economic development, business opportunities and tourism with the Dallas and Fort Worth region.
The multifaceted trip also will emphasize the role that international flights at DFW International Airport play in the growing connections between North Texas and leading Canadian metro areas.
The mission is especially timely amid renewed focus on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Canada is Texas’ third largest trade partner, and DFW accounts for a large part of the import-export activity.
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.
One of the mission’s key themes will be examining smart cities technology, urban planning and sustainable mobility in growing markets, including sharing the results of innovative ideas that have flourished in Canada and North Texans.
“We are looking to strengthen our business ties with regions that have become critical partners to the DFW economy,” Rawlings said. “This trip is another key step in understanding those needs and cultivating those long-term relationships.”
Price said, “As ambassadors for our region, I look forward to discussing mutual benefits of doing business, visiting and partnering in Fort Worth. 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.”
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, widely regarded as Canada’s most influential think tank.
Besides the mayors, the other panelist will be Steve Verheul, Canada’s chief negotiator in NAFTA talks with Washington.
Since NAFTA took effect 24 years ago, U.S. trade with Mexico and Canada has more than tripled, with Texas being such a large and important trading partner that some have called DFW the business capital of NAFTA. Dallas Fort Worth, about equidistant from Mexico City and Toronto, has an extensive transportation network and distribution hub, and is a leader in finance and business services, part of the growing export sector.
More than 125 Canadian companies operate in DFW, 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 DFW annually. That’s bolstered by recent partnerships with airlines, such as Air Canada, which recently launched a nonstop daily flight to Montreal.
“Customers have asked for more international destinations, and DFW Airport wants to deliver the passenger and cargo service that will continue to elevate the Dallas Fort Worth region as a hub for global business activity,” said Sean Donohue, CEO for DFW Airport. “Strengthening our partnerships with international airlines, like Air Canada and American Airlines, is a key component of our overall strategy to expand our service offerings.”
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 Rawlings and Price 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.