The Sun News: Haley talks business at Canadian event in Myrtle Beach
By Janelle Frost – firstname.lastname@example.org
MYRTLE BEACH – The Grand Strand is great for golf and its beaches, but it is more than just a tourist destination – it is open for companies to locate, said Gov. Nikki Haley after a town hall session Monday during a Canadian conference in Myrtle Beach.
“My focus continues to be on jobs and the economy,” Haley said. “This conference highlights Myrtle Beach, an area for bringing in jobs.”
Haley was among several other U.S. and Canadian leaders who participated Monday morning in a town hall session during the fifth annual conference of the Southeastern United States-Canadian Provinces Alliance, an annual business-to-business conference among six Southeastern U.S. states and seven Canadian provinces.
The three-day conference, which runs through Tuesday, has drawn more than 200 Canadian and U.S. business and government leaders, to the Myrtle Beach Marriott-Grande Dunes.
Monday’s panel, which included N.C. Gov. Beverly Perdue, fielded questions about innovation, job creation, advanced education, and energy programs.
Haley told attendees that the state of South Carolina is open for business where companies are coming and where there is a trained workforce.
South Carolina is “the new ‘it’ state…because we’re building relationships, taking care of the relationships we have, and even though the dollar is weak, people are looking to invest. We’re going to continue to build on that momentum.”
Local leaders have said the conference – sponsored by South Carolina, Horry County and the city of Myrtle Beach – could help expand new business opportunities in the area and build relations with Canadian leaders.
“Canada likes to be in the South,” said Gary Doer, Canadian ambassador to the U.S., who noted that Canada buys more U.S. goods and services than European countries.
Canada is the largest supplier of energy, natural gas, renewable power and tourism, Doer said. Tens of thousands of Canadians come to Myrtle Beach each year to golf and enjoy the beaches, which will continue, he said.
The Grand Strand and Canada have a long history – there’s already the annual Canadian-American Days Festival that’s been held here for half a century – but being known as a place where Canadians and their businesses can also do business has been a goal local leaders have had for years, having a business conference as part of the annual Can-Am festival a couple of times years ago.
Myrtle Beach was an obvious location for the Canadian conference because of its relationship with Canada, said David Wilkins, former U.S. ambassador to Canada and business co-chair for this year’s conference, who served as speaker of the S.C. House for 11 years.
The conference is a great way to showcase South Carolina and help benefit the state a great deal by encouraging Canadians to continue to spend dollars here as tourists and/or to expand businesses in South Carolina, Wilkins said.
Contact JANELLE FROST at 443-2404.