By Greg Barr
Published:October 15, 2019
-Phoenix Business Journal
Years in the making, Arizona and the Canadian province of Alberta have formally ratified a regulatory financial agreement that both governments and Valley business leaders say will fuel new cross-border and local investment.
The agreement is based on an Arizona statute that establishes so-called reciprocity of enforcement of money judgments. With such a deal in place, an Arizona bank, for example, could offer a large loan to a Canadian business operating in the Valley without worrying about costly trans-border delays related to recovery of collateral, a key factor when banks are considering risks while working out the loan underwriting. Other states already had similar agreements with Alberta.
The Arizona Legislature passed the Uniform Foreign Country Money Judgments Recognition Act in 2015, but the Alberta government at the time was overseen by Premier Rachel Notley, who did not prioritize finalizing the deal. Recently elected Alberta Premier Jason Kenney added Arizona to the Alberta Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments Act on Sept. 25, in the wake of a visit to Calgary by Maricopa County and municipal officials in May.
During that visit, Glenn Williamson, CEO of the Canada Arizona Business Council, lobbied Alberta officials to wrap up the deal, just weeks after Kenney was elected.
“I think we will see an increased investment into Arizona and vice versa into Alberta as a result of these forward-thinking regulations – this is true ‘North America thinking’ by leaders who see the economic effect of creating efficiencies in their jurisdictions,” Williamson said in a statement. Williamson is also Honorary Consul for Canada in Arizona.
Canada is Arizona’s largest foreign direct investment partner, and the country’s trade relationship with the state is valued at $3.6 billion a year. Some 11,220 jobs in Arizona are supported by trade with Alberta, according to the Canada Arizona Business Council, while Arizona exports nearly $600 million worth of goods to Alberta each year. More than 256,000 Albertans visit Arizona annually, as more airlines add direct flights between the province and Sky Harbor International Airport.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, in a statement, noted how important the trade relationship is between the two countries.
“We are grateful for Premier Kenney’s leadership on this issue, and look forward to building on the strong relationship between Arizona and Alberta,” he said.
Kenney, in his statement, said he was “pleased to see Arizona finally added to Alberta’s Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgements Act. As the beating heart of free enterprise values in Canada, it just made sense to make this reciprocal agreement with Arizona official. I look forward to strengthening the economic and investment relationship between our two jurisdictions.”
Michael Patterson, a Phoenix attorney with Spencer Fane LLP, who was part of the Valley delegation that visited Calgary earlier this year, said the deal could spark more than bank loans, noting it “opens wide the door for greater certainty in all kinds of cross-border business contracts, joint ventures, contract services, investments in technology companies, real estate and development, technology licensing, and much more.”