Southeast Targets Canada as Source of International Investment

In 2015, Canadian companies accounted for nearly $449 billion in foreign direct investment into the United States, according to the Canadian government. The amount constituted nearly 45 percent of all of Canada’s direct investment abroad. Closer to home, Canada remains North Carolina’s top trading partner, accounting for 23 percent of the state’s total exports in 2015.

With its attractive cost structure, deepwater port and strong manufacturing base, Southeastern North Carolina is a lucrative destination for Canadian FDI dollars, and the Southeastern Partnership has made Canada a major focus of its global outreach. Last fall, Joe Melvin, director of business development at NC Southeast, attended the second annual Canadian FDI Forum in Toronto. The two-day event drew industry experts, site selectors and business executives from around North America. “I was one of only three economic developers from the United States who attended,” Melvin says.

The Forum has been organized in the last two years by New York-based Area Development magazine in partnership with The CAI Global Group, a site selection and strategic planning advisory firm with offices in Montreal, Toronto and New York City. “We already picked up a small manufacturing project from our representation at the Forum,” Melvin says.

Among the Canadian companies operating in the Southeast are Cascades Industries, a Quebec-based global maker of tissue and packaging products with operations in Scotland and Richmond counties, and West Fraser, a diversified wood products company headquartered in Vancouver that maintains a significant presence in Columbus County.