STEPHENVILLE — Atlantica partnerships between business and government, can create opportunities to boost the economy, says Brent Sansom.

Members of the Bay St. George Chamber of Commerce learned of the opportunities in the shared region known as Atlantica on Wednesday.

In a breakfast address to the chamber, Sansom, Atlantica vice-president, explained that Atlantica is a primary focus of the Atlantic Provinces Chambers of Commerce (APCC). It is one region and two nations, including five provinces in Canada and three states of the United States.

“It’s a trade region which extends from Newfoundland and Labrador to the northeastern states of the U.S. up to New York,” Sansom said. “It’s a region with a shared history, common cultures as well as challenges and opportunities.”

Sansom said the area also shares a number of pan-regional factors and pointed to aging populations and youth leaving the region as just a few of the challenges.

“Our economies are based on trade and we depend on non-domestic markets, but we’re losing people in the manufacturing sector,” he said. “We’re missing some really significant opportunities on a global context.”

Through the concept of Atlantica, he says if businesses and even governments partnered, they’d have a real opportunity to change economies and increase cash flow.

“Trade polices are crippling our opportunities in trade,” he said. “If we get ourselves positioned property, we’d improve our position relative to the emerging global network to where we’d be among the Top 10 economies in the world.”

Sansom said it’s not only some government policies that are crippling, but there are some corporate policies that don’t suit Atlantica’s vision of moving forward with more ease of importing and exporting. The group’s vision is to establish and maintain a strategic framework and create ongoing action plans that will benefits businesses in the region known as Atlantica.

“We need to have strategies that will let us export more,” Sansom said. “We want to get better connected with our business community that we represent.”

He said the group has identified some “early wins,” in the areas of transportation, infrastructure and policy harmonization. He said members  recognized they have to create a better way to communicate and that’s why the Atlantic chamber is putting together a picture to send out information to its membership.

“We’re clearly not where we need to be to deal with provincial and state policies that companies run into problems with,” Sansom said.

“We have to fix that and at the end of the day we have to have an economic blueprint for the Atlantica region.”

During their short stay in Newfoundland, Sansom said he and Denis Gaudet, director of membership and patron sales and services with the Atlantic Provinces Chambers of Commerce, have already learned that on the transportation front, ports and ferry services need to be dealt with.