The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD), announced that Ludovic Ortuno, co-founder and chief operating officer for CIDEP, has been selected to direct a team of four other specialists who will continue the state’s international trade representation and support in Canada after a nationwide search. Canada has been the largest customer of Georgia exports for more than two decades, and Georgia’s longtime Canadian representative in Trade, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and Tourism, Gail Morris, recently retired after 10 years of cultivating Canadian business and recruitment opportunities on behalf of the State of Georgia.
As Managing Director, Ludovic Ortuno will lead a team of export and investment attraction specialists at CIDEP who will continue to advance Georgia’s vital relationship with its No. 1 export partner, support existing Canadian companies in the state and explore new opportunities provided by the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
“It’s a pleasure to welcome CIDEP’s Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer Ludovic Ortuno and his colleagues to our strategic international team,” said Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson. “Building upon our strong international economic relationships like those shared with Canada and increasing opportunities for Georgians will prove vital as we look toward recovery from COVID-19. I would like to thank Gail Morris for her committed, professional and successful representation during her 10 years of service as Georgia’s managing director in Canada. I am confident that CIDEP’s team will continue to strengthen the successful framework she built in this extremely important market.”
The new Canada team will be comprised of a total of five professionals who will serve the state from CIDEP’s headquarters in Montreal, Québec. Montreal is an important partner to Georgia in both the Southeastern United States-Canadian Provinces (SEUS-CP) Alliance and the Regional Leaders Summit (RLS). Through the RLS, seven international regions from five different continents exchange best practices on topics of mutual interest. Other members of the RLS include Upper Austria, Austria; São Paolo, Brazil; Shandong, China; Bavaria, Germany; and Western Cape, South Africa.
From Montreal, Ludovic Ortuno and his team will also advance Georgia’s role as a founder of the (SEUS-CP) Alliance, which was designed to present opportunities for businesses to enhance commercial exchanges, promote two-way trade and encourage business development between and among six Southeastern states and six Canadian provinces. The inaugural SEUS-CP Conference was hosted by Georgia and held in Savannah in 2008.
Since 1973, Georgia has served as the home to the Canadian Consulate General, one of 16 Canadian diplomatic offices in the U.S. The office promotes business development, investment, tourism, culture and information exchange between Canada and the Southeastern U.S. In addition to Georgia, the consulate serves Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
“I welcome Ludovic Ortuno as the state of Georgia’s new representative in Canada. His appointment is a clear sign of the continued importance placed in the Canada-Georgia relationship,” said Consul General of Canada to the Southeast U.S. Nadia Theodore. “My team here at the Consulate General of Canada, as well as our colleagues at the provincial offices, look forward to collaborating with Ludovic to further strengthen bilateral ties.”
In addition, Georgia is home to the Québec Government Office, which promotes economic and political ties between Québec and 7 Southeastern states. This office was established in 1978.
“The Government of Québec welcomes the State of Georgia’s new representation in Montréal, which complements Québec’s presence in Atlanta of more than 40 years. Trade between Québec and Georgia has grown in importance thanks to the complementary nature of their economies, both of which are focused on technological innovation and shared sectors of excellence,” said Donald Leblanc, delegate of the Québec Government Office in Atlanta. “Annual trade between the two states now surpasses $2.5 billion. In addition, Georgia and Québec are actively involved in two important networks of federated states, the Alliance of the Southeastern United States and Canadian Provinces (SEUS-CP) – of which they are the co-founders – and the Regional Leaders Summit.”
Canada is a priority trading partner for Georgia. In 2019, Georgia exports to Canada, its No. 1 export market, were valued at $5.9 billion. Top exports from Georgia to Canada included motor vehicles and vehicle parts and accessories, civilian aircraft, and carpet – Georgia leads the nation in the export of carpets, acrylic polymers and poultry. In 2019, Georgia imports from Canada totaled $5.1 billion, putting Canada at No. 7 among Georgia’s importer nations. Top imports from Canada included powered aircraft, turbojets and parts, ethylene polymers and wood.
CIDEP’s team will also provide support to Canadian companies with a presence in Georgia such as Coreslab Structures, Decostar, Magna International and Irving Tissue. In addition to supporting Canadian companies that already maintain a presence in Georgia, Mr. Ortuno and his colleagues will assist in attracting new companies to invest in and bring their operations to the state. He will also provide guidance to the nearly 90 Georgia companies in Canada, including The Home Depot, Marble Slab Creamery, Arby’s and Cox Enterprises.