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Two Canadian Provinces, New Brunswick and Manitoba, Talk NAFTA Trade in Houston, Austin and San Antonio.

HOUSTON, SAN ANTONIO and AUSTIN, Texas, Jan. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- The Premiers (Governors in U.S. Terms) of the Canadian Provinces of New Brunswick and Manitoba arrive in Texas today for a three-city round of speeches and meetings, including a meeting with Gov. Rick Perry Thursday in Austin.

Premier Bernard Lord of New Brunswick and Premier Gary Doer of Manitoba will speak Tuesday, Jan. 25 at 12:00 noon to the Greater Houston Partnership on strengthening energy and trade ties between their provinces and Houston.

On Friday, Jan. 28 the two premiers will hold a press conference with San Antonio Mayor Ed Garza at 9:00 a.m. and speak to the San Antonio Free Trade Alliance at 12:00 noon.

Strengthening trade and investment opportunities with Texas is the goal of a mission to be jointly led by Manitoba Premier Gary Doer and New Brunswick Premier Bernard Lord from January 24-28.

The two premiers made a commitment to improve co-operation between their jurisdictions and improve Canada-U.S. relations in a 2002 memorandum of understanding and undertook a joint trade mission to Chicago and Atlanta last year. Business delegates and partners in the mission will visit Houston, Austin and San Antonio.

"This is our government's first official visit to Texas, and we're excited about sharing our plans for New Brunswick's prosperity and growth," Lord said. "By attending this mission with Premier Doer and his delegates, we're also spreading the message that Canada is a natural investment and trading choice."

"Our trading relationship with the United States and Texas is crucial to Manitoba's economy. In 2003, Manitoba's two way trade with the U.S. totaled CDN$15.2 billion. Trade with Texas was worth CDN$691.4 million," said Doer. "Our province's bio-medical, manufacturing, high-tech and transportation companies will join the mission to expand their trading opportunities and help promote the Manitoba advantage."

While in Texas, New Brunswick will take the opportunity to raise the province's profile and exposure in a key U.S. marketplace with significant trade opportunities for the province's businesses and to attract direct foreign investment in the province. The main objective of the visit is to build strategic alliances between the province and the various business communities in Texas. The mission will also enable the government to showcase Service New Brunswick, a world leader in the e-government arena, and reap real benefits from its made-in-New Brunswick solutions like it did in Atlanta, Georgia last year, where it witnessed the signing of a letter of intent between CGI-AMS and the Georgia Municipal Association.

In Houston, Manitoba's mission will focus on investment promotion, and the two Premiers will attend a roundtable session with Texas business leaders and make a joint speech to the Greater Houston Partnership. In Austin, Doer will promote the mid-continent corridor and Manitoba's electric power system technology industry. The mission will conclude in San Antonio where Manitoba's aerospace industry presence in Texas and manufacturing opportunities will be promoted, and both Premiers will address the San Antonio Free Trade Alliance.

"Last year, Premier Doer and I led a joint trade mission to Chicago and Atlanta, which proved to be very successful," said Lord. "We believe this formula will also serve us well in Texas, where New Brunswick companies will benefit from Manitoba's knowledge and experience in that particular market. This mission will open many new doors for the companies that will join us, and I look forward to meeting officials from Texas and from northern Mexico."

"While our provinces differ in location and strengths, Premier Lord and I have successfully agreed to co-operate, not compete to benefit both our jurisdictions," Doer said. "Manitoba is aligned at the northern hub of the Mid-Continent Trade Corridor and New Brunswick is an east coast portal to Canada, so both provinces have excellent opportunities for trade expansion."

Both premiers will meet with the Governor Rick Perry to discuss trade, cooperation and opportunities for governments to work together within the NAFTA framework. The visit to Texas was planned to coincide with the Governor's State of the State address which the Premiers will attend as his invited guests.
 Media contacts:
 Riva Harrison, Manitoba Communications, 204-792-6707
 Suzanne Turmel, New Brunswick Communications, 506-461-7402
 Henry Wells, Canadian Consulate General - Dallas, 214-837-7207

CONTACT: Riva Harrison, Manitoba Communications, 204-792-6707; or Suzanne Turmel, New Brunswick Communications, 506-461-7402; or Henry Wells of Canadian Consulate General - Dallas, +1-214-837-7207
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 25, 2005
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