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Guest Commentary: Securing North American Prosperity

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Rana Sarkar, Consul General of Canada

In a banner year for elections and a global context swirling with uncertainty, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the noise. It’s understandable — we are living in a pivotal moment, confronting complex geopolitical and economic challenges with lasting implications for peace, democracy, and free trade.

However, Americans — and Californians — must remember a critical source of strength and stability here at home: together, Canada and the United States anchor the most competitive, prosperous, and resilient economic region in the world.

Nearly $1 trillion in trade flows between our borders each year, supporting millions of jobs on both sides. Canada is California’s second-largest export market (after Mexico), with $53 billion in two-way trade. Canadian companies employ workers across the United States, paying local taxes and salaries that directly benefit American communities. In California, that’s 875 Canadian companies and over 64,000 local jobs.

Canada and the United States — led by California — are agricultural powerhouses, with highly integrated supply chains that deliver safe, high-quality, and affordable food to millions. In the race to decarbonize our economy, Canada and California are setting the pace, with aggressive targets to reduce emissions while ensuring energy security critical to our economic growth.

On April 17, I’ll host former U.S. Ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman at CalChamber. We’ll be looking at the Canada-U.S. relationship’s importance to our economic, energy and climate security, and why Californians should care.

Let me give you a preview:

On jobs: Canada and the United States are building a more sustainable, fair, and competitive economy for our workers, and advancing labor standards globally. Canada and California are creating the jobs of the future through research, innovation, and investment, including in AI, quantum, and cleantech. Canada is investing in secure, regional supplies, including critical minerals and batteries powering green industry.

On climate and energy: Canada and California are accelerating the transition to net-zero, leading efforts to preserve our lands and oceans, and increasing our resilience to extreme weather events — including devastating wildfires. Through exchanges and collaboration on renewable energy, carbon capture, circular economy, and conservation, we are building a stronger and more sustainable North America.

On food security: Our integrated Canada-U.S. agriculture and agri-food trade benefits consumers in both countries, promoting sustainability and resilience in the face of climate, economic and conflict-related shocks, and increasing production while ensuring the highest food safety and quality. And Canadians are California’s top customer — we purchase billions of dollars’ worth of fruits, nuts, and vegetables from the Golden State every year.

On security: Canada stands side-by-side with the United States every day in defense of our common values and continental security via NORAD, the only binational command in the world. Abroad, we work together promoting security and stability in hotspots around the globe. At home, our teamwork preserves public safety, combats the threats of illegal drugs and firearms, and protects our critical infrastructure.

In our constantly evolving reality, we don’t know what the future holds. But Americans and Californians can be sure of one thing: our future security, prosperity and quality of life depends on a rock-solid Canada-U.S. relationship. And California is paramount to a secure and prosperous North America.

Rana Sarkar is Consul General of Canada in Northern California.

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