Photo Caption: Mayor Emanuel meets with the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade of Canada to discuss Chicago’s commitment to strong economic ties with Canada.

Photo Credit: Brooke Collins // City of Chicago

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today met with the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade of Canada, where the two discussed their commitment to continuing the city’s strong economic relationship with Canada. Minister Fast visited Chicago to attend the program “US-Canada: A Shared Vision of Competitiveness,” where United States Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker highlighted the Beyond the Border Plan.

“I am honored to welcome Minister Ed Fast to Chicago and look forward to continuing to cultivate economic and cultural ties with one of our city’s greatest partners,” said Mayor Emanuel. “As we foster strong partnerships in economic growth, both Chicagoans and Canadians will benefit from our collaboration for years to come.”

Canada is second only to China as a trade partner with the Chicago area, with there being over 200 Canada-based companies that have locations and headquarters in the Chicago area.

Today’s meeting with the Minister of International Trade of Canada comes on the heels of recent trade-missions undertaken by Mayor Emanuel to Mexico and China aimed at boosting Chicago’s strength as a hub for global commerce. In December of 2013, Mayor Emanuel met with the Minister of Commerce from the People’s Republic of China, and the leadership of eight major Chinese cities to sign the historic Gateway Cities Agreement. In November of last year, Mayor Emanuel visited Mexico City where he signed the Global Cities Economic Partnership with Mexico City Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera, an agreement with a strong focus on seeking to develop global trade and investment strategies for business leaders interested in the Chicago marketplace.

The Bank of Montreal/Harris Bank employs 5,000 people in the area, including 1,000 employees at the bank’s Loop location, and is the area’s largest Canadian-owned employer. Quebec-based BIXI is part of the consortium which operates Chicago’s successful Divvy bike share system, and airport facility firm Aeroterm LLC is investing $130 million in O’Hare airport’s facilities. Other Canadian-based companies in Chicago include Lululemon Athletic, Aldo, and Accelerated Rehabilitation Centers.

Mayor Emanuel remains committed to fostering international partnerships to promote economic growth. During his term, the Mayor has met with leaders from across the globe, including India, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and South Korea. Chicago has been sister cities with Toronto, Canada since 1991.