Whitmer Forges New Economic Alliance With Ontario to Boost International Trade in Michigan

The Windsor-Detroit border is the busiest international crossing in North America.

By Kyle Kaminski

July 26, 2023

A newly signed partnership agreement between the state of Michigan and Ontario aims to bolster trade, encourage investment, and foster international job creation.

LANSING—Michigan and Ontario are more than just neighbors.

State officials said the border between Michigan and the Canadian province marks the single busiest northern border crossing for trade in North America, with more than $80 billion of goods traded last year alone. Michigan and Ontario also reportedly produce about 22% of the vehicles in North America.

And this year, under a new partnership signed this week by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Ontario Premier Doug Ford, the alliance between Michigan and Canada is poised to grow a whole lot stronger—with a renewed commitment to work together and forge new trade partnerships.

“Michigan and Ontario have deeply shared economic interests on issues from future mobility to agriculture,” Whitmer said in a statement on Tuesday. “Canada was the top destination for Michigan exports last year, putting $27 billion into our economy and creating thousands of jobs across our state. Today’s Memorandum of Understanding will reaffirm our partnership and foster greater collaboration on trade, technology, cybersecurity, agriculture, and more.”

The new deal with Ontario (which is known as a Strategic Investment and Procurement Agreement) is set to build on Michigan’s longstanding economic relationship with Canada, all with the goal of attracting new business investments, increasing trade, and creating new jobs.

“Ontario and Michigan share deep economic ties as partners, neighbours and friends,” Ford said in a statement announcing the new partnership. “This agreement will help open even more opportunities to work together and drive further economic growth. As we navigate global uncertainty, now is the time to strengthen this important relationship to build our economies, further integrate our supply chains and create good-paying jobs on both sides of the border.”

The memorandum of understanding between Michigan and Ontario isn’t legally binding and it doesn’t include any specific demands of either party. Instead, Whitmer said the idea is simply about working together to “build a prosperous future for future generations.” Ford also said the concept is geared toward boosting existing cross-border trade between Michigan and Canada—including finding ways to facilitate faster, more efficient border crossings.

Under the new agreement, Michigan and Ontario are set to work together to accelerate electric vehicle adoption and to support related manufacturing supply chains. Other priorities identified in the agreement include advanced technology, cybersecurity, agriculture, rural development, alternative clean fuels, and travel and tourism.

For the latest Michigan news, follow The ‘Gander on Twitter.

Follow Political Correspondent Kyle Kaminski here.


  • Kyle Kaminski

    Kyle Kaminski is an award-winning investigative journalist with more than a decade of experience covering news across Michigan. Prior to joining The ‘Gander, Kyle worked as the managing editor at City Pulse in Lansing and as a reporter for the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

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