Detroit Regional Chamber > Advocacy > Ambassador of Canada to the United States: ‘There Are No Two Countries on This Planet More Integrated Than Us’

Ambassador of Canada to the United States: ‘There Are No Two Countries on This Planet More Integrated Than Us’

September 19, 2023

On Wednesday, Sept. 13, the Detroit Regional Chamber hosted Kirsten Hillman, Ambassador of Canada to the United States, for an intimate conversation with Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Sandy K. Baruah and members at the Detroit Athletic Club. The ambassador discussed the critical partnership between Canada and the United States, including the efforts underway to deepen economic integration toward a more sustainable and globally competitive economy for both countries.

An Unrivaled Relationship

Ambassador Hillman, the first woman to be appointed to her position, believes the bilateral relationship between Canada and the United States is important and that both countries “are always stronger when working together.” Every day, more than $2 billion worth of goods and services move across the US and Canada border. In the state of Michigan, there are over 410 Canadian-owned business.

“The strength of our relationship is built on the literal millions of interactions Canadians and Americans have every day…We can’t underestimate the power of these personal connections, business connections, academic connections, military connections, cultural similarities…There are no two countries on this planet more integrated than the two of us in these respects,” she said.

Trade Dynamics and Global Partnerships

When asked about the updated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), now known as the United States-Mexico-Canda Agreement (USMCA), she answered that it’s working well and emphasized the need for each country to enforce the rules and maintain “a common will.”

Regarding the state of global trade, Ambassador Hillman emphasized the need for countries to fall back on their values and to find a way to work with allies.

“We are all kind of willingly blind to some of these realities in the way our global economic partnerships interact with our values,” she said. “That time is over. At least, it should be for all of us. We need to come at these relationships with a more sophisticated point of view. What I mean is, we need to take care of business with our friends.”

Ambassador Kirsten Hillman speaks at the Detroit Athletic Club

Infrastructure and Investment

Ambassador Hillman also gave an update on the Gordie Howe International Bridge, sharing that it is a “fantastic, amazing project” that will “drive innovation in the way we manage our border.”

“Effective, efficient modern infrastructure drives investment, and investment drives other investment. And it makes the whole region more competitive, more seamless, and more attractive,” she said.

When asked about the Inflation Reduction Act and the opportunity for the United States and Canada to work together on the EV supply chain, Ambassador Hillman noted that it’s a “very bold move” that will do both countries good.

“Why wouldn’t we want anything less than being the best EV manufacturing region in the world?”

Looking Forward

Baruah and Ambassador Hillman ended the conversation with the shared sentiment of how valuable this international relationship is and how important it is to maintain it.

“We are going to do better when we trust each other and keep this relationship strong.”