Nixon announces trade agreement with Quebec

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced a trade agreement Wednesday with the Canadian province of Quebec that he said is worth $3.2 billion.

Speaking to reporters over the phone in Toronto, Nixon lauded the deal as another step to increase with the state's largest export partner.

"This was a very promising start to what continues to be a very productive mission," Nixon said. "Selling more Missouri goods abroad creates more Missouri jobs back home."

The Democratic governor said the deal would boost Missouri exports in aerospace, agriculture and manufacturing to Quebec by 15 percent over the next few years.

Nixon left for his trip Monday and has visited Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto to meet with Canadian government and business leaders. On Wednesday, he met with Canadian foreign minister John Baird in Ottawa.

He is scheduled to return to Missouri on Thursday, but said he plans to meet with to head of Ontario's provincial government during the remainder of his trip.

Canada purchased nearly $4 billion in Missouri products last year, including transportation equipment, chemicals, machines and food.

Nixon's departure was delayed because of this weekend's winter storm. The governor joked that he was looking forward to warmer weather as "spring is not even close to here in Canada."

His travel costs are being paid for by the Hawthorn Foundation, a nonprofit organization that frequently finances gubernatorial trade missions. Nixon was joined on his trip by Economic Development Director Mike Downing and Department of Agriculture head Richard Fordyce.

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