South Carolina "Canadian" Office Will Recruit Investment and Bolster Trade Relations
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The South Carolina Department of Commerce plans to open a Canadian office in Toronto, Ontario later this year.
“As we work to compete in the global economy, our state’s ability to further relationships and opportunities with Canada is critical. Whether it’s recruiting a new company to our state or expanding market opportunities for businesses currently here, this office will provide new avenues to enhance our incredibly positive relationship with Canada,” said South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford.
Canada is South Carolina’s top export market. In 2006, Canada purchased more than $3 billion in products from the Palmetto state. Trade between South Carolina and Canada supports some 69,000 jobs in South Carolina alone and bilateral trade between the two totaled $4.5 billion in 2004. (Source: www.can-am.gc.ca and Global Trade Information Services)
“The Carolina-Canada connection is a strong one. Canada has long been our state’s number one trading partner and each year hundreds of thousands of Canadians make the Palmetto State their vacation destination. This is a relationship on the move and the potential for opportunity and growth is limitless. By locating in Toronto, the state Department of Commerce is tapping into all that potential and that can only mean a more dynamic business environment and stronger ties on both sides of the border,” said U.S. Ambassador to Canada, David H. Wilkins. Wilkins is a native of Greenville, South Carolina and the former Speaker of the S.C. House of Representatives.
In 2005, more than 780,000 Canadians visited South Carolina, spending $220 million. South Carolinians also experienced a healthy dose of Canadian hospitality. The same year, more than 94,600 South Carolinians visited Canada spending $63 million. (Source: www40.statcan.ca and http://geo.international.com)
“Throughout the years South Carolina and Canada have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship. Today Canada is our state’s largest export destination and trade between our countries supports thousands of jobs in South Carolina. As our relationship grows with Canada, so do our opportunities and we look forward to enhancing those efforts with a permanent presence in Canada,” said Joe Taylor, South Carolina Secretary of Commerce.
Canadian companies have a strong presence in South Carolina. At least 56 parent companies currently operate in at least 291 locations in South Carolina. As further evidence of the mutually beneficial relationship, nearly 1,900 Canadian companies export goods and services to South Carolina. (Source: http://strategis.ic.gc.ca and Dunn & Bradstreet)
Andre J. LeBlanc will serve as director of the South Carolina state office in Toronto. LeBlanc, a Canadian native, has served as a Project Manager in Global Business Development at the South Carolina Department of Commerce for the past two years. Prior to his time in South Carolina, LeBlanc worked in sales, marketing, and management in the pharmaceutical industry. He was raised in Montreal, speaks fluent French, and has extensive experience in Canadian business development.
The Canadian office will be South Carolina’s fourth international office and the second office opened under Governor Sanford’s administration. South Carolina currently has state offices in Munich, Tokyo, and Shanghai.
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