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Canadian Consulate General addresses North Country

John Prato, the Canadian Consulate General in New York City, addressed representatives of the North Country at the North Country Chamber of Commerce on Monday, March 25.

John Prato, the Canadian Consulate General in New York City, addressed representatives of the North Country at the North Country Chamber of Commerce on Monday, March 25. Photo by Shaun Kittle.

PLATTSBURGH—Co-operation between Canadian and American economic ventures was discussed at the North Country Chamber of Commerce on Monday, March 25.

In what Chamber President Garry Douglas called a “special opportunity to solidify our friendship with our partner to the north,” the meeting focused on utilizing that relationship to economically benefit both countries.

“Canada is our largest trading partner, and dwarfs many of our other trading partners,” said Congressman Bill Owens, who attended the event. “This is an educational process, and it is also to our benefit because we are able to attract Canadian businesses to come into our communities.”

Last year, the Canadian consulate general in Buffalo was consolidated with the Canadian consulate in New York City.

John Prato, the Canadian Consulate General based in New York City, greeted representatives of the media, local businesses, agencies, colleges and municipalities in Clinton County at the event.

New York Assemblywoman Janet Duprey, Canadian Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Officer Rachael Homewood and Canadian Trade Commissioner Linda Soltis were also present.

“The two-way relationship between our two countries is $742 billion,” Prato said. “That means there are 400,000 people crossing the border every day. That’s $2 billion a day.”

His concerns, he said, were focused on finance, investment and innovation—helping Canadian companies expand into the United States using Plattsburgh as a base.

Canadian economic growth has slightly slowed over the past several years, and Prato said he thinks both Canada and the United States can do better.

Prato said energy, specifically the proposed XL Pipeline, is also an important consideration, as is hydroelectricity.

To improve across-the-border businesses, Prato said some regulations should be considered.

He mentioned impediments to productivity, such as differences in packaging sizes and ingredients for the same product in each country, a result of varying regulations, should be looked at and considered.

Companies must therefore run two separate lines of the same product.

“That means we can’t compete as effectively as we should be with the world,” Prato said. “It means our profits aren’t as great and our tax bases aren’t as great.”

“I may be based in New York, but I’ve made a commitment to Upstate New York.”

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