Florida and Ontario Chambers of Commerce Call for Strengthening Cross-Border Trade

Chambers Advocate for Continued Relationship Between Florida and Ontario


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (April 30, 2018)–  The Florida Chamber of Commerce (Florida Chamber), Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), Canada-Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce, and Canada-Florida Chamber of Commerce, are partnering together in support of continued cross-border trade agreements between Florida and Ontario. The chambers are actively encouraging the renewal of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) during the current renegotiation process.


“With nearly 500 Canadian companies employing Floridians, it is important that we continue to maintain and expand our relationship with Ontario and Canada to fuel economic growth,” said MARK WILSON, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.  “The Florida Chamber is proud to join the Ontario Chamber in support of free trade and modernization and renewal of NAFTA.”


Florida and Ontario share a substantive, significant relationship – particularly in tourism and trade cooperation. Trade between Florida and Ontario is mutually beneficial and growing, generating $4.9 billion annually. Key sectors such as furniture, iron and steel structures, computer and computer peripherals, autos, fruit and vegetable juices, and coffee are currently at stake.


“As many Ontarians consider Florida their second home, we must continue to build upon the strong substantive relationship between our two jurisdictions, said ROCCO ROSSI, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “The OCC believes cross-border trade agreements and the renewal of NAFTA will continue to drive economic growth for Ontario and Florida.”


All organizations are urging their governments to explore opportunities to strengthen cross-border partnerships between the two regions. Continued cross-border trade benefits all parties involved, contributing to the economic prosperity of both regions.


What Others Are Saying:


“The economic and social ties between Ontario and the Tampa Bay region are long-standing and remarkable, not just during the holidays or vacation break but throughout the year.  Personal and educational visits often develop into commercial exchange; and business activities typically precede a decision to invest.  At the Canada-Tampa Bay Chamber we see this first hand.  A modernized NAFTA and a friendly regulatory environment generally are critical to continued prosperity and broader growth on a bilateral basis.”  Andrew McIntosh, President of Canada-Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce 


“The Canada Florida Chamber of Commerce is excited about and supportive of the cross-border cooperation that the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce are jointly advocating for in order to foster and promote cross border trade and investment.”  Glenn Cooper, President, Florida-Canada Chamber of Commerce




Established in 1916 as Florida’s first statewide business advocacy organization, the Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as crucial to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Florida Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FLChamber.com for more information. 136 South Bronough Street, Tallahassee, FL 32301


The Florida Chamber continues to monitor developments on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and provided an update on the status of negotiations during our November Global Florida webinar.

NAFTA was implemented in 1994 is currently being modernized.  The United States, Canada and Mexico recently stated that they would extend NAFTA negotiations into next year.  The fifth round of negotiations is scheduled to begin November 17th in Mexico City.

Last week’s Global Florida webinar, held in partnership with the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, focused on the ongoing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiations between Canada, Mexico and the U.S.

We were honored to be joined by The Honorable Neal Dunn, Florida’s 2nd Congressional District, who was introduced by Stan Connally, Jr., Chair-Elect , Florida Chamber of Commerce, Chair of the Florida Chamber’s Policy Council, and Chairman, President & CEO of Gulf Power Company. Congressman Dunn shared his support for creating a more equitable environment and improving market conditions for Florida growers under a modernized NAFTA.

We were also delighted to hear from Susan Harper, Consul General of Canada, and Ron Oleynik, Partner, Holland & Knight. Ms. Harper spoke on Canada’s unique relationship with Florida and its positive economic impact to our state’s economy, as well as the Canadian perspective on NAFTA modernization. Mr. Oleynik highlighted the benefits of modernizing NAFTA and the possible consequences of withdrawal. Alice Ancona, Director, International Strategy & Policy at the Florida Chamber of Commerce, provided an update on Florida’s trade numbers.

The Florida Chamber stands committed to working to expand Florida’s position as an international trade leader. Please mark your calendars for our next Global Florida webinar on Tuesday, January 16 at 3:00 p.m., which will focus on the Global Trade Outlook for 2018. Registration information will be provided at a later date.

Click here to download presentation.

Click here to read the Florida Chamber’s NAFTA letter.


U.S. and South Korea agree to begin the process to make amendments to Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS). No details are yet available on the specific changes that will be made. U.S. and South Korea plan to use the agreement’s special “joint committee” process to make changes to the agreement rather than embark on a NAFTA like re-negotiation

The Administration and the President have indicated throughout the summer their desire to renegotiate or withdraw from KORUS – with the most serious statements coming at the beginning of September.

Over the summer, a rare bi-partisan letter from Congressional leaders overseeing the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means committees called for the White House to pursue further discussions instead of pulling out of a pact with an important economic and geopolitical partner, particularly at a time of heightened tensions in the Korean peninsula.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce issued a statement opposing pulling out of KORUS.

KORUS is five years old – nowhere near as mature as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  The U.S. currently maintains a trade deficit in good exports with South Korea.  Its important to note that trade is more than exports.  The U.S. also maintains a services exports surplus with South Korea.  While origin-exports are important drivers of economic growth — according to the Department of Labor—it is important to note that 80% of the U.S. work-force works in the service sector.

KORUS also includes an investment chapter that is designed to facilitate bilateral investment between the U.S. and South Korea. By any measure, the United States is the net beneficiary here. Korea is the 14th largest foreign direct investor in the United States with significant new investments in the horizon.  The Hyundai Motor Group, which includes Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors has stated that it plans to increase investment into the U.S. by 50% to $3.1 billion over five years and may build a new plant there. LG Electronics also is looking to increase investment by building a manufacturing facility in the U.S.

While there are opportunities to grow trade and tap into the South Korean market, KORUS agreement still has some matter to address such as issues relating to regulatory transparency, customs clearance, and regulatory overreach. Florida trade with South Korea has increased 86 percent since 2011.