Economic Development

Economic Development


The Great Lakes-St.Lawrence regional economy generates nearly $6 trillion each year.  If it were its own country, the region would rank as the world’s third largest economy, behind only the United States and China.  The Governors and Premiers are working together to strengthen the region’s economy and improve its international competitiveness.  Through the Conference, they are pursuing several complementary initiatives that build on their long-standing partnership to boost regional exports:

Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Water Partnership

For players in the global blue economy, North America’s “water belt” is the place to be.  Capitalizing on its abundant natural resources including nearly twenty percent of the world’s surface freshwater, the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence river region is today a dynamic water sector hub building on historic strengths in agriculture and water intensive manufacturing.  The Great Lakes Governors and Premiers have fueled this blue economy with innovative policy, export promotion and investment attraction.   The result is a growing and outward-looking market with world leaders in advanced water technology, valves, filtration, green infrastructure, engineering and consulting.  It is estimated that within four years, the global market for water-related products and services will reach nearly $800 billion annually.  The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Water Partnership is helping our region set the pace in this crucial 21st century market:  

• Regional forum for collaboration and information sharing among the region’s water-related companies.

• Regional brand for marketing.

• Free “Water Sector Opportunities” webinars for regional companies, with a focus on high-growth foreign markets.

• International sales and marketing opportunities through the Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers trade offices and missions.

Foreign Direct Investment

The Governors and Premiers are collaborating to attract more foreign direct investment in the Great Lakes region, a key driver for economic growth and job creation.  Click here to access the "Invest in the Great Lakes" website.


The Governors and Premiers are working toward more open procurement policies within our region.  More open and transparent procurement markets can help enhance economic competitiveness and strengthen the regional economy.   Click here to view the Governors' and Premiers' "U.S. Canada Trade" resolution.