CIAC meets with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to discuss Ontario-U.S. chemistry industry trade issues

On May 5, CIAC hosted a roundtable with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and representatives from the Sarnia-Lambton chemistry cluster at Lambton College to discuss the importance of the cluster to the local and the Ontario economy, the importance of unfettered access to the U.S. and global markets, as well as investment and growth opportunities to support the continued evolution of the cluster.

“I’m working with the Great Lakes governors to impress upon them how much we want to continue to have an open border and how important it is to us that we keep that integrated relationship that we’ve kept over the past decades,” Wynne said. “When it comes to trade, we need a two-prong approach where the industry and government are saying the same thing to U.S. officials.”

Ontario’s $22 billion chemistry sector is the Province’s third largest manufacturing sector.   The chemistry industry is also Ontario’s second largest manufacturing exporter. In 2016, Ontario chemistry sector trade imports from the U.S. totalled $23 billion, while exports to the U.S. totalled $16.1 billion. The top Ontario-U.S. trade partners include Texas, Ohio, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania., among others.

“More than 70 per cent of all the chemistry we make in Ontario is exported to the United States. In short, nothing is more important to our sector’s economic well-being than maintaining free and open access to our US markets,” said Bob Masterson, President and CEO of CIAC. “Ontario’s engagement in the issue is an important complement to the efforts of the federal government in Ottawa.”

At the roundtable, Don Fusco, CIAC’s Government and Stakeholder Relations – Ontario, noted that there have been over $1 billion in chemistry sector investments in Ontario over the past five years and acknowledged the Province’s support through programs, including the Jobs and Prosperity Fund.    Don emphasized that the industry is looking to continue to work with the Provincial officials and lever investment attraction programs to secure additional investments as our sector growth opportunities are aligned with the Province’s economic and innovation goals.

Participants from the chemistry industry included anchor members and key partners in the Sarnia Lambton cluster, demonstrating the strength, integration, collaboration and diversity of the cluster: ARLANXEO, BioAmber, Cabot Canada, Imperial Oil, NOVA Chemicals, Shell Canada, Lambton College and Bioindustrial Innovation Canada.

CIAC will continue to work with Ontario government officials to strengthen the Province’s competitiveness to achieve the shared objective of future investments and growth.