Canada’s trade minister says China trade mission a priority
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.