TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — The state of Michigan and the province of Ontario signed a memorandum of understanding August 3 to increase their respective competitiveness in the automotive industry.
The agreement is designed to create best practices, cohesive public policy, increased supply chain integration and technology transfer agreements
It was not said whether any public funding would be used to support the agreement.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed the agreement in Traverse City, Michigan.
Ontario and Canada’s advisor on the automotive industry, Ray Tanguay, told members of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association of Canada in mid-June that just such an agreement would be in the best interests of Ontario and the Great Lakes states that participate in the automotive industry.
Ontario and Michigan account for more than 26 per cent of vehicle production in the Great Lakes region. Trade between the two regions in 2015 totaled $96.7 billion (US$74 billion).
"Collaborating to improve the auto sector is a great use of resources that will lead to continued growth and job creation in both economies," Snyder said in a statement.
“Sharing best practices and integrating our supply chains will advance Michigan’s and Ontario’s positions as leaders in the auto industry,” he said. “This partnership will improve Michigan’s work on skilled trades and workforce development efforts, as well as promote our focus on autonomous vehicles and mobility technologies throughout North America.”
The announcement comes in the run-up to labour talks between Canada’s largest private union, Unifor, and the Detroit Three automakers.
The result of those negotiations could ultimately define how much auto production remains in Ontario.
The current labour agreement expires Sept. 19.