STOWE, Vt. (GNB) – Eastern Canadian premiers and New England governors met today in Stowe, Vt., for the 42nd Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers where they discussed the North American Free Trade Agreement, trade and energy.

“Robust trade between Canada and the United States is important to the economies of both countries,” said Premier Brian Gallant. “I made the point to the governors that protectionist policies and unfair and unwarranted trade actions against Canadian industries such as the tariffs on New Brunswick’s softwood lumber hurt workers, families, and consumers on both sides of the border. We had great discussions on how we can promote the strengthening of trade between our two countries.”

Vermont Governor Phil Scott hosted the conference, with Gallant serving as the co-chair.

Recognizing the economic interdependence between the two countries and the region, as well as the important contribution of cross-border trade to the prosperity of the states and provinces they represent, the governors and premiers resolved to encourage dialogue among elected officials, business communities and Canadian and American citizens to promote cross-border trade, trade liberalization and North American integration. They met with United States Ambassador to Canada Kelly Craft and Canadian Ambassador to the United States David MacNaughton to discuss the current state of relations between the two countries.

Business leaders in the energy sectors from member states and provinces also explored connections through one-on-one business meetings.

The conference was established in 1973 in recognition of the special bond that exists between the six New England states and the five Eastern Canadian provinces. The meetings are held alternately in New England and Eastern Canada.

Next year’s conference will be hosted by New Brunswick.

“We look forward to hosting the New England governors and eastern Canadian premiers in Saint John in 2019 so we can continue to work together to strengthen trade between our two countries,” said Gallant.