Canada, Florida see partnership to help both economies reemerge from pandemic
Image via AP.

U.S. Canada border
Canada is Florida's top source of international visitors.

Trade and tourism relationships between Florida and Canada are likely to increase in importance for both economies as the world emerges from the coronavirus crisis, officials from both predicted Thursday.

In a panel discussion kicking off a broader virtual conference Tuesday on “Restoring Bilateral Trade Between Canada and Florida,” organized by GrayRobinson, Enterprise Florida Senior Vice President of International Trade Manny Mencia and Canada’s Consulate General to Florida Susan Harper both agreed the post-pandemic recovery period will be a time for new opportunities for Canadian and Florida businesses.

“Frankly I believe that. Canada is going to play an even bigger role than it has played in the years when we come out of the pandemic,” Mencia said in the Zoom-based conference. “No question Canada is by far Florida’s number one economic partner. There is no one close.”

According to Florida Chamber of Commerce research they cited, Canada is Florida’s top source of international visitors and ranks number two behind Brazil in origin exports, number two behind the United Kingdom in services exports and in foreign investments into Florida, and number three behind China and Mexico in imports to Florida. Canadians also represent the greatest source of international money buying residential properties in Florida, Harper added.

Enterprise Florida maintains two Canadian trade offices, in Toronto and Montreal.

“No people in the world know Florida as well as Canadians,” Mencia said.

Canada remains in a much tighter lockdown than the United States, and particularly than Florida, including tough restrictions on cross-border travel. Such is the case worldwide. Florida’s tourism numbers have plummeted from all countries. Mencia said Florida’s foreign trade also is down about 20%.

“I believe emerging from the pandemic the relationship is going to take on much stronger (role) as we go along. My expectation is the Latin American market will lag the developed world in terms of coming out of the COVID-19 crisis,” he said. “Therefore, partners like Canada and the developed world will be reopened, and their relationships with the United States will become even more important to us.”

Harper agreed. She said Canada is interested in aggressively pursuing new trade relationships in Florida in health sciences, defense, infrastructure, transportation “and many of the techs.”

“I’d like to particularly underline clean technologies for example, given the importance of energy in the economy, generally, but also in the Canada-Florida relationship, and also given the connection between energy and the environment,” she said. “This is certainly an area where we’ve been active bilaterally, promoting Canadian electric school buses in Florida, and a pilot project for solar sidewalks in Tampa, and Canadian energy efficiency solutions for cities and utilities.”

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].

One comment

  • Phil Horlock

    March 12, 2021 at 7:18 pm

    We just want to remind everyone that we are all for fair trade, but we do build America’s best-selling electric school bus in the neighboring state of Georgia. We have a Tampa-based dealership that’s been doing business in Florida for more than 30 years and many Georgians enjoy their vacations in Florida too. In fact, I have a home there along with others on the Blue Bird team. Please don’t forget your hard-working neighbors who are proud to build America’s favorite electric-powered school bus that’s also “Made in America”! With thousands of school buses on the road today in Florida, we deserve some recognition too!

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704