Ontario highlights automotive sector during mission to Germany and Poland

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Two-way trade between Ontario and Germany was valued at close to $15 billion last year. There are approximately 260 German businesses operating in Ontario. and Volkswagen is making a historic $7 billion investment in a battery plant in St. Thomas. PHOTO courtesy Volkswagen.

The Ontario government has concluded an investment and trade mission to Germany and Poland to promote the province’s growing automotive sector and explore new opportunities for investment and job creation.

The mission, led by Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, included meetings with German automakers Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz.

“We continue to strengthen Ontario’s end-to-end EV supply chain by building a competitive business environment that attracts investments from companies around the world,” said Minister Fedeli.

Ontario representatives met with the senior leadership of Volkswagen Group in Wolfsburg and PowerCo SE in Salzgitter to thank them for the Group’s historic $7 billion investment in St. Thomas, the future location of Volkswagen’s first overseas battery cell manufacturing plant. The meeting included discussions about future opportunities with the company as they build out their footprint in Ontario. The province is also working with Volkswagen to organize a suppliers’ day to help source Ontario suppliers for the new battery cell plant, helping to ensure companies across the province can benefit from Volkswagen’s major investment.

Last year, two-way trade between Ontario and Germany was valued at close to $15 billion. There are approximately 260 German businesses operating in Ontario.

Additional highlights from the mission included meetings with executives from Mercedes-Benz and global automotive parts suppliers ElringKlinger and Eberspaecher Group to promote Ontario as a leading destination for investment. ElringKlinger currently operates a manufacturing facility in Leamington, and Eberspaecher has subsidiaries in Mississauga and Concord.

“Ontario is an industry leader in the automotive and EV sectors,” said Trevor Dauphinee, CEO of Invest Ontario. “Invest Ontario is laser-focused on fostering a dynamic end-to-end supply chain, supported by our impressive assets, including over 700 parts suppliers, and 500 skilled tool, die, and mold makers.”

Building on the success of the province’s 2022 investment and trade mission, Ontario representatives also met with government representatives from the German state of Baden-Württemberg. Ontario and Baden-Württemberg share a close economic relationship that was formalized in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) first signed over 30 years ago. The MOU was renewed last year and fosters collaboration on initiatives across a range of sectors, including automotive and electric vehicles.

With a GDP of $750 billion, Baden-Württemberg is the third-largest economy in Germany and is home to many well-known multinational enterprises, such as SAP, Daimler, and Porsche. More than 100 companies from Baden-Württemberg have invested in Ontario.

“Ontario and Baden-Württemberg are economic powerhouses and global centres for the auto industry,” said Dr. Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut, Minister of Economic Affairs, Labour and Tourism for Baden-Württemberg. “We are pleased to explore opportunities to strengthen trade and investment ties, particularly in the EV and EV battery sector, during this time of transformation for the auto industry.”

Over the past two-and-a-half years, Ontario has attracted over $25 billion in automotive investments by global automakers and suppliers of electric vehicle batteries and battery materials.

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