Canadian officials engage Arkansas businesses

Aug 24, 2018

Canadian officials work with World Trade Center to engage Arkansas businesses

Trade officials from the Consulate General of Canada in Dallas coordinated with the World Trade Center Arkansas to engage Arkansas businesses and stakeholders through commercial diplomacy in a visit to the state last Wednesday.

Foreign Policy and Diplomatic Service Officer Amy Goudar and Consul and Trade Commissioner Delon Chan from the Canadian Consulate met with stakeholders at Arkansas companies that included J.B. Hunt Transport, Tyson Foods and farmers like Golden Ridge Rice.

“Arkansas is important to Canada and vice-versa because we’re your largest trading partner and best customer,” Chan said.These meetings were arranged for Chan and Goudar by Melvin Torres, Director of Western Hemisphere Trade for the World Trade Center Arkansas. Torres also arranged visits with Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin, and representatives from the offices of Congressman Steve Womack and Senator John Boozman.

“We really appreciate all the excellent work and support from the World Trade Center to build the relationship between Arkansas and Canada,” Chan said. “We want to continue to build upon the work that the Center is doing to promote trade between our countries,” Chan said.

The Consulate’s Objectives

The Canadian Consulate General in Dallas serves as its diplomatic mission for the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico. The World Trade Center Arkansas has worked hand in hand with the Consulate multiple times before. Chan represented Canada in trade and diplomacy meetings held around the World Trade Center Arkansas’s ten year anniversary.

Chan also came to Arkansas with Consul General Vasken Khabayan in November last year to give a seminar on how to do business with Canada for Arkansas companies and was a guest on the Gateways Podcast.

Chan said the importance of their trip to Arkansas centered on the opportunity to engage with companies and other interested stakeholders and discuss the importance of the Arkansas-Canada relationship.

“We want to encourage and continue that strong relationship,” he said. “If you look at Canadian companies invested in Arkansas and Arkansas companies exporting to Canada – that relationship supports 66,000 Arkansas jobs.”

Trade with Canada

In addition to these jobs, Canada imported approximately $60 million worth of rice from Arkansas in 2017. The state also exported $191 million in agriculture goods to Canada last year and, when combined with Arkansas exports to Mexico, state data shows that Canada and Mexico receive one third of Arkansas exports.

Overall, Canada is Arkansas’s largest export market exporting $1.3 billion in goods and $182 million in services annually. In addition to this, Canadian visitors to Arkansas spend $7 million every year.

Chan said the consulate officials will also visit with stakeholders in Little Rock later this month to continue their engagement with Arkansas.

The mission of the World Trade Center Arkansas is to grow trade and increase Arkansas exports by connecting Arkansas businesses to the world through international trade services. The Center is part of the University of Arkansas and serves as the trade promotion arm for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. For more information and valuable updates, please follow the Center on Facebook and Twitter or subscribe to the World Trade Center Arkansas newsletter.