It is a pleasure to represent Canada in Miami. Canada and Florida have worked together to create a number of partnerships in recent years, and I look forward to working with my new team to continue to strengthen those partnerships, and develop new ones.
When I meet with people in Florida, most of them refer to the number of Canadians who either live or visit here. That’s not really a surprise when you look at the numbers. Canadians are overwhelmingly Florida’s top international tourists market, with over four million annual visits, and spending $4.4 billion – nearly 40% of all spending by foreign tourists in Florida. Canadians are also top foreign purchasers of residential real estate in Florida. Our consular section helps many of the millions of Canadian visitors and snowbirds who come to Florida, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands each year, including by issuing emergency passports and other travel documents; providing certain notarial and certification services; sharing information on voting abroad, old age security and the Canadian Pension Plan; and responding to emergencies such as medical distress cases, arrests/detentions, deaths abroad, and natural disasters.
However, many people in Florida are surprised to learn that Canada is Florida’s number one trading partner, with more than $8 billion in two-way trade in 2015. Over 620,000 jobs depend directly or indirectly on that trade! An increasing number of Canadian companies are expanding their presence and establishing new relationships in Florida, especially in innovative and high-potential sectors including clean technology, aerospace and life sciences. The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service is pleased to work with the over 315 Canadian-owned companies established in Florida and we hope to grow the Canada-Florida commercial relationship by increasing two-way trade; facilitating R&D partnering, commercialization and sourcing of technology; and attracting investment to Canada.
The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service team at the Consulate endeavours to help Canadian organizations successfully export to Florida, establish a presence in this market, tackle market access issues, pursue joint-ventures or other strategic alliances, participate in global value chains, and seek technology and R&D partners. They do this by providing on-the-ground intelligence and practical advice on the market, as well as by providing Canadian companies with qualified business and public sector contacts. Their priority sectors are linked to Florida’s new economic drivers – like “clean tech” environmental technologies, medical and life sciences, and information and communication technologies. Our trade commissioners also actively seek out foreign direct investment (FDI) opportunities for firms wishing to invest in Canada.
While jobs and the economy are important to both of our countries, our partnership goes far beyond that. We work with universities and colleges, Non-governmental organizations, cultural organizations and we are glad to see that this collaboration is also growing. Our Canadian Forces personnel serve together with US military at four bases across the state, protecting our shared continent, fighting against terrorism and patrolling international waters in the Caribbean and elsewhere. Our customs services, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) work together on border enforcement, while facilitating the legitimate entry of goods and people. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) working in partnership with international law enforcement agencies, foreign governments and Canadian embassies maintain a link between Canadian law enforcement and US law enforcement agencies in support of the RCMP's mandate to fight transnational crime.
I am pleased to work with our committed and capable consulate team, to provide excellent service to our Canadian community, and to promote this vibrant and diversified partnership with Florida, Puerto Rice and the US Virgin Islands. It is clear that Canada matters to the region, and that the region matters to Canada.
I invite you to join over 43,000 followers on our Facebook page to receive updates on our activities and important events in Canada. You can also follow me on Twitter @CGMiamiHarper or our consulate account at @CanCGMiami.
Susan Harper (Master of Business Administration, Ivey School of Business, Western University; Bachelor of Arts with Honours [Math, English] Queen’s University).
Prior to joining the Department of External Affairs in 1983, Ms. Harper taught at both Cambrian College in Sudbury, and George Brown College in Toronto. She held trade positions in Yaoundé, Paris and Buenos Aires before becoming Ambassador in Montevideo, Uruguay in 2001. She subsequently was posted to the Embassy of Canada in Washington, D.C, where she became Minister (Economic) from 2008-2009. In Ottawa, she was Director General, Trade Controls and Technical Barriers from 2009-2013, and then Director General and Senior Arctic Official (2013-16).
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