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  • Binational Sector Strategies
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November 2013

This month on the Project Blog:


November 19,
Momentum of Two Binational Regional Collaboration Conferences Propelling Development of Targeted Binational Regional Strategies

Two highly-successful conferences on binational regional collaboration were co-sponsored in October by the MSU Center for Community and Economic Development.  The Blue Water Conference was held in Port Huron on October 2, and the Twin Saults Conference was held Oct 30-31 at Lake Superior State University.  Each Conference focused on each region’s economic assets and sectors with the greatest potential to benefit from increased binational collaboration and also highlighted current binational collaboration.

The Binational Blue Water Regional Collaboration Conference was held in cooperation with the St. Clair County Economic Development Alliance, I-69 International Trade Corridor, East Michigan Council of Governments (EMCOG), Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership, and other Ontario organizations.  Potential collaboration areas include Agri-Food Production, Logistics, Green Chemistry, and Immigrant Attraction.  Canadian Consul General Roy Norton delivered the keynote and emphasized the extensive trade relationship already existing between Michigan and Ontario to underscore the importance of binational collaboration.  This robust trade relationship demonstrates the interconnectedness of the Michigan and Ontario economies and points toward a broad range of opportunities for greater binational collaboration. 

The Second Annual Binational Twin Sault’s Regional Collaboration Conference was held in cooperation with the Upper Peninsula Economic Development Alliance (UPEDA), Eastern Upper Peninsula Regional Planning and Development Commission (EUPRPDC), Lake Superior State University, the Sault, Michigan and Sault, Ontario EDCs, respectively, and other Ontario organizations.  Potential collaborative areas include regional tourism opportunities; the state of the Twin Saults’ international border crossing; the value of trails and natural resources in the Upper Peninsula and in Ontario; and strategic initiatives in the bi-national transportation corridor.  Plans are already underway for the Third Annual Binational Twin Sault’s Regional Collaboration Conference that will be held next November in 2014.   

Based on the positive tenor of discussions at each recent Binational Regional Collaboration Conference, MSU CCED will work with Michigan and Ontario partners to develop strategic elements for binational collaboration in agri-food production, green chemistry, regional marketing, tourism/trails and,  logistics/transportation.  These strategic elements will be used as a framework for the development of Binational Regional Strategies that will enhance economic prosperity in both the state of Michigan and the province of Ontario while developing innovative initiatives at the substate/subprovincial regional level. 

Binational regional collaboration can occur at two principal levels: one, binational transportation corridors connected by land crossings (bridges, tunnels, or interconnected highway systems) as is the case with the Blue Water Region connected by the Blue Water Bridge and St. Clair River rail tunnel and the Twin Saults Region connected by the International Bridge and rail bridge; and two, the broader level of regional collaboration between two sub-national jurisdictions like states and provinces. Binational collaborations at either level can leverage a wider range of economic, institutional, and social assets to achieve higher levels of economic success in the binational region.

CCED and the Southwest Economic Alliance (SWEA) will hold an International Webinar December 11 to discuss the value of binational collaboration and identify the next steps and best practices that can take binational Michigan-Ontario regional collaboration to the next level.