Mixed feelings on this one

I have mixed feelings about this. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership was in Fredericton yesterday (in cooperation with local ED officials) making the pitch for Canadian companies setting up in Virginia.

On the one hand, I understand that the goal for NB ED officials is to get more U.S. business for NB companies and the Virginia folks did talk about trade opportunity.

But make no mistake, the VEDP doesn’t give a rip about NB companies providing more exports to Virginia. It wants New Brunswick firms to set up in Virginia and that is the single reason they were here yesterday. They have obviously decided there is business to extract out of the Atl. Provinces as they will also make their pitch in Halifax and St. John’s.

I guess we should be flattered, in a way, that they are here. Most U.S. investment attraction groups just ignore this region and focus on Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, etc.

But I still think this is a muddy water issue. If Virginia attracts a New Brunswick manufacturer (remember with the dollar parity Virginia – outside the Washington Metro – is actually cheaper to run a manufacturing operation than New Brunswick), with the help and support of New Brunswick economic development officials, what will that mean?

When I was actively involved in the game back in the 1990s, we were able to ‘talk’ with U.S. economic development agencies. They were glad to share with us their strategies and successes. But they wouldn’t support us going in and pitching their companies to set up in New Brunswick. They wanted them to expand there and ‘export’ to New Brunswick.

So, as I said, I have mixed feelings about this?

Anyone have insight on this?