Andrew Raynor Dover NH
New Hampshire’s northern neighbor is also it’s biggest trading partner, so discussions about the North American Free Trade Agreement have been underway this year, Granite State businesses have been paying close attention.
Trade and investment with Canada supports 39,000 jobs in New Hampshire. Each year, companies and manufacturers export $576 million in goods and $211 in services to Canada.
“Our relationship,” said Business and Economic Affairs Commissioner Taylor Caswell, “is crucial to our state’s economy.”
This fueled discussion this week, Renegotiating NAFTA: Partners for a Prosperous Economy, featuring industry leaders, state and provincial policy-makers, and economic development representatives from Quebec and New Hampshire, including Caswell; Welch Manufacturing Technologies President Glenn Welch and CEO Robert Bouchard of Rotobec.
Welch is the manufacturer of Biteharder, a snowmobile carbide sharpening unit. Working with our Office of International Trade, Welch has found a thriving market in Canada. He told the audience that without NAFTA, the cost to send his product over the northern border would be almost as much as the unit itself.
Rotobec, which has had a presence in Littleton for over 30 years, is expanding for the second time in two years and expects to grow to 50 employees. Bouchard said international trade agreements enables the company to reach markets efficiently on both sides of the border and to have access to workforce.
“I’m keeping my fingers crossed things won’t change,” Welch said.