Scott visits Canada for trade mission

Gov. Rick Scott embarked on a five-day trade mission to Canada, with plans to visit Montreal and Toronto.

(MIAMI HERALD)    Gov. Rick Scott on Monday kicked off a five-day tour of Canada’s two largest cities.

Scott will spend five days between Montreal and Toronto in an attempt to lure more jobs to Florida. He was joined by his chief economic development officer, Enterprise Florida Director Gray Swoope, and a delegation from the state’s business community, including Florida Realtors President Patricia Blakiston, Tampa Bay Partnership CEO Stuart Rogel and Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. President Keith Alan Norden.

Scott’s office declined a request to include any Florida press on the trip.

It is Scott’s second foreign trade mission in three months. Scott traveled to Panama in March and plans to visit Brazil in October.

Canada is Florida’s top international economic development partner, according to Enterprise Florida. Florida trade with Canada topped $7.1 billion in 2010 and roughly 300 Canadian companies have operations in Florida, with 24,300 high-wage jobs.

In 2009, 2.7 million Canadians visited the Sunshine State and spent more than $2.8 billion.

Scott’s office promised an “important economic development announcement” Wednesday but declined to provide additional details.

Scott’s schedule is peppered with meetings with private companies, but a list was unavailable.

On Monday, Scott was scheduled to meet with Quebec Premier Jean Charest, the U.S. Consul General in Montreal Lee McClenny and Power Corp. of Canada, an international holding company with interests in financial services, media and other business sectors.

Scott was also scheduled to attend a reception at the offices of international law firm Fasken Martineau. The itinerary for the rest of the week includes a pair of Visit Florida expos, meetings with the Quebec-Florida Chamber of Commerce and the American Chamber of Commerce and a visit to the Forum Economique Des Ameriques-Conference de Montreal.

Scott will also meet with Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and Kevin Johnson, the U.S. Consul General in Toronto.

Michael C. Bender can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MichaelCBender

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