State's relationship with Canada helping to drive the economy - - Jackson, MS

State's relationship with Canada helping to drive the economy

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

With the Canadian National Anthem playing under the big top at the annual Hobnob event in Jackson, Governor Phil Bryant introduced what he says is a driver in the state's economy.

"The possibilities, I think, are unlimited," said Bryant.

Those possibilities come thanks to Canada, represented by the country's Consul General Stephen Brereton.

"We need to be competitive in a global market place by working with the state of Mississippi and of course our private sector partners we think we can make a lot of achievements," said Brereton.

Canada is currently the state's number one export market. In 2011, trade was about $2.6 billion. That's because of the approximate 65,000 jobs in Mississippi currently dependent on trade with Canada. Bryant says that relationship is helping the state's overall economy.

"One of the things that we need to do is realize is that Mississippi has international business partners. We're not just trading with Alabama or Florida. We're trading with people throughout the world," said Bryant.

On the energy front, Bryant says his current energy policy is in line with increasing opportunities from Canada. He points to manufacturing jobs and the importance of the controversial Keystone Pipeline Project.

"These are American jobs, it's energy from Canada. We won't have to bring it from the Middle East, people who do not like us. It's with our best trading partner and energy that we will need," said Bryant.

Both leaders say a close relationship is mutually beneficial, especially when it comes to future endeavors.

"We're friends, we're neighbors, we're allies, we're partners, we make things together and as we discussed, the opportunities are really significant," said Brereton.

Tourism also plays a major role. In 2011 more than 76,000 Canadians visited Mississippi with a $20 million impact. On the flip side, more than 20,000 Mississippians visited Canada with a $7 million impact.

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