FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear is to lead an international business trade mission next week to Canada with nearly two dozen Kentucky companies and several trade partners.
With stops in Montreal and Toronto, the first Kentucky Export Initiative trade mission seeks to increase commerce between Kentucky and Canada, according to a news release issued Friday by Beshear's office.
"Exporting is vital to our economic strength, and it's crucial that we continue to enhance those ties and create long-lasting and prosperous business relationships," Beshear said. "This trip is an opportunity to showcase that Kentucky is open for business and offers a wide variety of excellent products and services."
Kentucky's business ties to Canada play a major factor in the state's economy, with an estimated $11 billion in bilateral trade between Canada and Kentucky. Canada is Kentucky's top trade destination, with $7.3 billion in Kentucky products and services exported to Canada in 2012. Overall, Kentucky's exports to 199 nations in 2012 totaled $22 billion, setting an all-time record.
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The Kentucky delegation includes more than 50 people representing more than 20 companies and 11 organizations from across the state. The trade mission runs from June 3 through June 7.
Beshear created KEI to bring together agencies and organizations to help increase international trade opportunities for Kentucky businesses.
Comprised of government entities, business organizations and trade experts, the KEI partnership includes the Cabinet for Economic Development, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers, the World Trade Center Kentucky and the Kentucky Association for Economic Development.