BURLINGTON, V.T.—Business and political leaders in Vermont said May 20 that more must be done to attract Canadian businesses to set up operations in the state.
“We have a real opportunity to increase jobs in Vermont from Canadian companies who need to be headquartered in the United States for one reason or another, and we should be more aggressive about it,” Gov. Peter Shumlin said before a meeting in Burlington with representatives of 23 Quebec businesses and the provincial and federal governments.
Quebec is Vermont’s largest international trading partner, and there are a number of Canadian businesses with operations in Vermont. Shumlin said that in recent years the state has backed off efforts to attract businesses from its closest Canadian neighbour.
As part of a broader effort to reverse that trend, lawmakers recently appropriated $100,000 to help foster the Vermont-Quebec connection, including hiring someone to spearhead the effort.
The May 20 event was part of the Vermont-Quebec Enterprise Initiative, an effort of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development and the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce and its partner, the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation.
Tom Torti, the president of the Lake Champlain chamber, said federal law in the U.S. provides incentives to Canadian companies to set up in the United States.
“So when they think about that, we want them to think about Vermont as the location of choice,” Torti said.