Canada’s trade min­is­ter says China trade mis­sion a pri­or­ity

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By JACK FREIFELDER in New York jack­freifelder@ chi­nadai­

Mov­ing to strengthen re­la­tions with the coun­try’s sec­ond-largest trad­ing part­ner, Canada’s Min­is­ter of In­ter­na­tional Trade is pro­mot­ing the Canada-China re­la­tion­ship in a 10-day, five-city China trip.

“This is my fifth visit to China since be­ing ap­pointed Trade Min­is­ter, and I’m very happy to be here open­ing doors and sup­port­ing our Cana­dian com­pa­nies,” Ed Fast told China Daily in a Tues­day tele­con­fer­ence call from Nan­jing, Jiangsu prov­ince.

Fast, whose home rid­ing is in Ab­bots­ford, Bri­tish Columbia, said he be­gan this most re­cent trade mis­sion by at­tend­ing an APEC meet­ing for trade min­is­ters in Qing­dao, Shan­dong prov­ince.

The visit will in­clude stops in Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Nan­jing, Shang­hai and Shen­zhen, with the ob­jec­tive of fos­ter­ing a deeper un­der­stand­ing of the in­ter­na­tional trade dy­namic.

The trip’s pri­mary dis­cus­sion topics in­clude ed­u­ca­tion ini­tia­tives, sus­tain­able tech­nol­ogy de­vel­op­ment and in­tel­lec­tual property rights pro­tec­tion.

Fast said China is Canada’s No 1 source of in­ter­na­tional stu­dents, with more than 87,000 Chi­nese stu­dents now study­ing in Canada. ”Un­der Canada’s new in­ter­na­tional ed­u­ca­tion strat­egy, we ex­pect the num­ber to dou­ble … by 2022,” he said.

Dur­ing the trip, the Cana­dian govern­ment an­nounced it would open four new trade of­fices in China later this year — bring­ing the to­tal in the coun­try to 15 and in­creas­ing the num­ber of Cana­dian offi- cials there to more than 100.

Cana­dian ex­ports to China have in­creased 84 per­cent in five years, Fast said, while trade flows “in other parts of the world have stalled”.

“Canada’s goal was to con­tinue to ad­vance [our] eco­nomic in­ter­est in the Asi­aPa­cific re­gion,” Fast said. “The trade mis­sion is fo­cused on sus­tain­able tech­nol­ogy, with a del­e­ga­tion of Cana­dian small and medium-sized en­ter­prises (SMEs) look­ing to ex­port to China.”

“China is a pri­or­ity coun­try in Canada’s global mar­ket ac­tion plan and our sec­ond­largest trad­ing part­ner, with two-way trade to­tal­ing $73 bil­lion in 2013 — an in­crease of 4.5 per­cent from 2012,” he said. “Sec­tor-fo­cused trade mis­sions like this al­low our SMEs to get per­sonal face time with key de­ci­sion mak­ers and prospec­tive lo­cal part­ners.”

Cana­dian ex­ports to China in 2013 were val­ued at more than $20 bil­lion, mak­ing China Canada’s sec­ond-largest ex­port mar­ket, per Cana­dian govern­ment data.

“Mak­ing it eas­ier for Cana­dian businesses to in­vest and in­crease their ex­ports to high­growth mar­kets like China is part of our govern­ment’s plan to en­sure the long-term pros­per­ity of Cana­di­ans,” Fast said. “Canada’s trade pro­fes­sion­als in China are fo­cused on … mak­ing sure that when Cana­dian businesses do en­ter this mar­ket they’re im­prov­ing their chance of suc­cess.”

Fast said the big­gest ob­sta­cle fac­ing Cana­dian firms is the “dif­fer­ent busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment in China”.

“There are many com­pa­nies ac­tive in China that are mak­ing prof­its, but it is a very dif­fer­ent en­vi­ron­ment than do­ing busi­ness in Canada,” he said. “The pro­tec­tion of in­tel­lec­tual property has been raised many times and we’re very cog­nizant of that con­cern.

“The role of trade com­mis­sion­ers is to pro­vide strate­gic ad­vice,” he said. “Our trade com­mis­sion­ers make it clear that Cana­dian com­pa­nies need to ex­er­cise cau­tion and do their due dili­gence when they en­ter the mar­ket here in China … to mit­i­gate against some of those chal­lenges. This is an in­cred­i­bly dy­namic mar­ket, one that rep­re­sents such op­por­tu­ni­ties for the Cana­dian mar­ket.”

Canada’s goal was to con­tinue to ad­vance [our] eco­nomic in­ter­est in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion. The trade mis­sion is fo­cused on sus­tain­able tech­nol­ogy, with a del­e­ga­tion of Cana­dian small and medium-sized en­ter­prises (SMEs) look­ing to ex­port to China.” ED­WARD FAST CANADA’S MIN­IS­TER OF IN­TER­NA­TIONAL TRADE


Ed­ward Fast (left), Canada’s Min­is­ter of In­ter­na­tional Trade, meets with Guang­dong Party Sec­re­tary Hu Chun­hua (right) on Thurs­day in Guangzhou, Guang­dong prov­ince. Min­is­ter Fast is vis­it­ing China on a 10-day, five-city trade mis­sion to pro­mote bi­lat­eral and mul­ti­lat­eral trade be­tween the two coun­tries.

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