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December 18, 2017

The Southwestern Ontario Marketing Alliance (SOMA) has returned from a successful trade mission to China and Japan. The purpose of the mission was to promote the SOMA region as a competitive manufacturing and investment location and to strengthen trade relationships.

The trade mission began mid-November in Shanghai, China and included meetings with the Canadian Consulate, Export Development Canada (China Office) and Global Affairs Canada. Following that, the delegation joined the Premier’s mission to celebrate the over $800 Million in trade deals signed between Canadian and Chinese companies. The delegation of Economic Development directors and regional Mayors then travelled to Japan – the leading source of Foreign Direct Investment in the SOMA Region – for meetings with the Embassy, Canadian consulate as well as one-on-one meetings with potential investors in the SOMA region.

“This mission enables us to promote Southwestern Ontario as an exceptional investment destination that will help increase jobs in the automotive, advanced manufacturing and the agri-business sectors,” says Len Magyar, President of the Southwestern Ontario Marketing Alliance. “We are building on our partnership and expanding opportunities for our regional businesses to compete on a global scale,” he added.

Canada’s Industrial Heartland is well positioned to attract foreign investment. In a 2015 study by FDI Monitor, it was shown that the region has already attracted valuable Japanese investment with a total of $2.05 Billion in investment and the creation of 2,485 jobs, which made the region the top investment destination for Japanese companies during that period.

Some of the outcomes of the trade mission are:

  • Signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Southwestern Ontario Marketing Alliance and the China Nanjing Federation of Industry & Commerce
  • Meetings with 13 companies that already have a presence in Canada’s Industrial Heartland
  • Hosting of events with 43 additional companies
  • 7 one-on-one meetings with companies that have expressed an interest in investing in the region

 Additional Quotes:

“To promote future growth and investment it is vital to maintain strong, cordial relationships with the senior management of corporations that have already invested in Canada's industrial heartland. By working cooperatively we can strive to bring additional investment and jobs to our communities!” – Trevor Birtch, Mayor – City of Woodstock

“I am proud to have been the delegate lead as we mark the beginning of a promising new relationship with the China Nanjing Federation of Industry & Commerce. We can learn from each other in building stronger economic regions and adopting best practices to become more globally competitive.” – Stephen Molnar, Mayor – Town of Tillsonburg

“Our visit to Ma-anshan was both educational and inspiring. China’s development is occurring at a rapid pace and it was exciting to see the passion they have to grow their business opportunities in the rest of the world. We look forward to identifying more opportunities for trade and investment.” Ted Comiskey, Mayor – Town of Ingersoll

“Japanese companies continue to invest in Canada’s Industrial Heartland and our communities have benefited from the stable management and long term outlook from companies like Takagi and others. Without these past investments, it would have been more difficult to grow our communities over the past 10 years.” Heather Jackson, Mayor – City of St Thomas

“We were pleased to meet with several of our area’s top foreign manufacturing investors and learn more about Japan’s initiatives with regard to connected autonomous technology. Stratford’s provincial designation as an “Autonomous Vehicle Demonstration Zone” supports developments in the future of the automobile and in turn presents opportunities to improve capacity in Canada’s Industrial Heartland. The Connected Car initiative continues to gain international recognition and momentum and we are looking to take advantage of that to grow investment in Canada’s Industrial Heartland.” Dan Mathieson, Mayor – City of Stratford

SOMA Media Contact:

Len Magyar, President

Southwestern Ontario Marketing Alliance

519-539-1291 x 2112

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About the Southwestern Ontario Marketing Alliance:

The Southwestern Ontario Marketing Alliance (SOMA) is a partnership of Southwestern Ontario communities that has grown out of natural economic ties. This region, known as Canada's Industrial Heartland, encompasses the municipalities of Ingersoll, Perth County, Stratford, St. Thomas, Tillsonburg, and Woodstock. It stretches across Elgin, Middlesex, Oxford and Perth counties. SOMA works with all levels of government and the private sector to promote the advantages of locating within the region. SOMA and its partners offer a number of services to companies looking to grow within the region.