WisBusiness: Doyle off to Canada

By Brian E. Clark

Gov. Jim Doyle left today for a business trip to Canada to meet with business and government officials, discuss protecting the Great Lakes, and promote Wisconsin’s leadership in agriculture and clean energy, his office said.

Doyle will visit the Canadian cities of Winnipeg, Montreal, Quebec City, and Toronto. He will be joined at different events on the trip by Natural Resources Secretary Matt Frank and Agriculture Secretary Rod Nilsestuen. In addition, Commerce Secretary Jack Fischer will have a variety of business meetings in Canada next week to build relationships and discuss investment in Wisconsin.

Lee Sensenbrenner, a Doyle spokesman, said the governor will meet with companies Canadian companies that do a large amount of business with the Badger State, including Woolwich Dairy, which is Canada’s largest goat cheese producer. Earlier this month, the company celebrated the grand opening of its new facility in Lancaster, its first U.S. facility.

Sensenbrenner said Canada continues to be Wisconsin’s largest international market. In 2007, Wisconsin exports to Canada grew by 7.1 percent to $5.8 billion. Nearly one-third of all Wisconsin exports in 2007 were to Canada. The state’s agricultural exports also rose 45 percent in 2007, driven by growing consumer demand in Canada and other countries for high-end food and quality livestock genetics. Since Doyle took office, his office said Wisconsin exports have increased by nearly 80 percent.

Unlike previous trade missions to Asia and Mexico, Doyle will not be accompanied by a delegation of Wisconsin executives. Sensenbrenner said the state will pick up the tab for this trip.

Doyle’s recent business trip to Ireland and the United Kingdom cost the state $31,964.71 for the five people who went, according to his office.

Doyle is headed to India in November for a trade mission. His expenses for that journey will be covered by business officials who will go on the trip.