It looks like the state of Arizona will be singing “Oh, Canada…” more often — and with more fervor — in 2015.
When discussing the Copper state’s international business ties, the natural reaction is to consider the state’s relationship with nearby Mexico, but 2015 is slated to become a big year for business with Canada.
Glenn Williamson, CEO and founder of the Canada Arizona Business Council, which focuses on trade and business relations between Arizona and Canada, said there are three main areas of Arizona business that are set to flourish between the state and Canada this year.
Williamson expects trade to have a more significant impact on Arizona’s economy in 2015 compared to previous years.
“We’re watching a continued growth in the aerospace and automotive sector and we’re hopeful that we’ll get close to $4.5 billion in bilateral trade this year,” Williamson said.
The top industry between Arizona and Canada is in aerospace manufacturing, in which a whopping $216 million is brought into the state from Canada each year, most of which can be credited to Bombardier Aerospace, a Quebec-based aircraft manufacturer whose largest service center is located in Tucson, AZ.
The Canada Arizona Business Council reported that approximately 132,000 Arizonan jobs are dependent on trade between Arizona and Canada. With over 300 Canadian businesses in the state, Williamson said Arizona and Canada are well on their way to increasing growth in trade in 2015.
With increased international trade comes the need for more jobs, some of which are likely to be telecommuting positions. Working remotely has become commonplace in today’s international workforce, with 67% of professionals agreeing that working remotely is productive.
Perhaps one of Arizona’s most important industries, tourism is also expected to experience significant growth.
Last year alone the nearly one million — 896,000 — Canadian tourists who visited Arizona spent a staggering $923 million during their visits, which is a severely lopsided figure compared to the amount of money spent in the state by tourists hailing from Mexico.
“Canada from a tourism point of view, is an absolute powerhouse with close to a billion dollars in real money being put into the state through tourism and that’s about five times more than what’s coming out of Mexico,” Williamson said.
Williamson expects to see Arizona topple $1 billion in tourism revenue from Canada in 2015. In addition, he said the Canada Arizona Business Council estimates that over one million Canadians will visit Arizona for vacation.
Williamson also expects Arizona to see continued growth in foreign direct investment from Canada, which is when Canadian investors contribute large sums of money in order to own portions of Arizona companies.
“We’re watching enormous amounts of Canadian investment in the United States and we believe that Arizona will get broader share in 2015,” he said.
According to the Canada Arizona Business Council, Canadian foreign direct investments total $5.1 billion annually in Arizona, with continued growth in trade and tourism helping to further encourage investment in the state, Williamson said.
“I am hopeful that the people that are in the right positions will start reaching to the private sector and start creating public-private partnerships,” he said.
Facilitating public-private partnerships could help increase growth in trade, tourism, and foreign direct investments between Canada and Arizona, in addition to creating more competition and innovation in the marketplace, Williamson said.