Pre­miers lead mis­sion to China

Trade del­e­ga­tion works to open doors for Cana­dian busi­nesses

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By LI NA in Toronto and WANG RU in Beijing

Canada is at­tend­ing to some business in China.

Kath­leen Wynne, premier of On­tario, along with other prov­ince of­fi­cials and business rep­re­sen­ta­tives, em­barked on a week­long trip to China on Oct 25. Wynne’s fel­low trav­el­ers in­cluded Brad Duguid, min­is­ter of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, em­ploy­ment and in­fra­struc­ture, and Michael Chan, min­is­ter of cit­i­zen­ship, im­mi­gra­tion and in­ter­na­tional trade, and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of about 60 busi­nesses and or­ga­ni­za­tions.

The mis­sion be­gan in Nan­jing, the cap­i­tal of On­tario’s sis­ter prov­ince, Jiangsu. The del­e­ga­tion also trav­eled to Shang­hai and then Beijing, where the premier joined her coun­ter­parts from Prince Ed­ward Is­land and Que­bec for the Coun­cil of the Fed­er­a­tion mis­sion, which con­cludes Nov 1. Business del­e­gates from New Brunswick and Man­i­toba also par­tic­i­pated in the mis­sion.

“Trade mis­sions are an in­te­gral part of our plan to make On­tario more com­pet­i­tive glob­ally,” Wynne said. “We are com­mit­ted to help­ing On­tario busi­nesses open doors and build con­nec­tions in this key mar­ket.”

China is Canada’s sec­ond­largest trad­ing part­ner. In 2013, Canada-to-China ex­ports were val­ued at $20.5 bil­lion and im­ports were val­ued at $52.7 bil­lion.

“I am hon­ored to be lead­ing the third mis­sion of Canada’s pre­miers to China, as well as the largest business del­e­ga­tion in the his­tory of the Coun­cil of the Fed­er­a­tion,” said Robert Ghiz, premier of Prince Ed­ward Is­land. Ghiz, who is the fed­er­a­tion’s chair­man, spoke Thurs­day dur­ing a me­dia con­fer­ence at the Chi­nese Peo­ple’s As­so­ci­a­tion for Friend­ship with For­eign Coun­tries in Beijing.

Canada’s pre­miers also vis­ited China in 2008 and 2012.

“Work­ing to­gether to ex­pand trade and fur­ther de­velop with China is an im­por­tant pri­or­ity of Canada’s pre­miers,” he said.

The trip to Beijing was ex­pected to yield hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars in in­vest­ment agree­ments with China.

“After talk­ing with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from China’s provin­cial gov­ern­ments, the trad­ing agree­ments we signed out­num­bered my ex­pec­ta­tion,” said Que­bec Premier Philippe Couil­lard.

In Beijing, pre­miers and del­e­gates at­tended meet­ings with Chi­nese gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and par­tic­i­pated in events be­ing or­ga­nized by the Canada-China Business Coun­cil.

The business groups show­cased their prod­ucts in a range of in­dus­tries, in­clud­ing clean tech, sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy. The clean-tech com­pa­nies will aim to in­crease their pres­ence in the Chi­nese mar­ket. The sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy del­e­ga­tion com­prises com­pa­nies, univer­si­ties, re­search in­sti­tu­tions and re­search hos­pi­tals.

Fang Li, Chi­nese con­sul gen­eral in Toronto, said the trip was “of great sig­nif­i­cance”. “On­tario is the most im­por­tant for China among the prov­inces of Canada. I be­lieve this visit will deepen and ex­pand the friendly co­op­er­a­tion of mu­tual ben­e­fit.”

Fang also in­di­cated that the Ring of Fire, a large chromite de­posit in the north of Thun­der Bay, can be a point of co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries. “The de­mand for the min­er­als is high in China; we can work to­gether if the nec­es­sary in­fra­struc­ture such as a rail line can be built in this area,” Fang said.

China is On­tario’s sec­ond­largest trad­ing part­ner but ac­counts for only 1.4 per­cent of the prov­ince’s ex­ports, com­pared with 80 per­cent to the United States. “The prov­ince needs to di­ver­sify its trade re­la­tion­ships to avoid [the de­cline due to rely on a sin­gle re­source that] On­tario’s man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor has suf­fered,” said Duguid.

The 2014 China mis­sion is part of On­tario’s Go­ing Global Trade Strat­egy to in­crease the prov­ince’s in­ter­na­tional pro­file in support of the gov­ern­ment’s eco­nomic plan. The prov­ince is home to the largest Chi­nese com­mu­nity in Canada, with more than 710,000 On­tar­i­ans of Chi­nese ori­gin. That cre­ates a nat­u­ral con­nec­tion that fosters closer trade ties and makes On­tario an at­trac­tive des­ti­na­tion for Chi­nese in­vest­ment. Cana­dian firms need to break out of their com­fort zones and pull off an eco­nomic shift to a new Asian mar­ket, Wynne said.

Two Chi­nese com­pa­nies in Nan­jing this week an­nounced sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ments in On­tario that will trans­late into as many as 230 jobs. Con­tact the writ­ers at wan­gru@chi­nadaily.com.cn and re­nali@chi­nadai­lyusa.com.

PHOTO BY CHINA DAILY

Con­duc­tor Kent Nagano and the Mon­treal Sym­phony Orches­tra re­hearse in Beijing for their firstever per­for­mance there. The two-time Grammy-win­ner con­ducted a con­cert in the For­bid­den City Mu­sic Hall to com­mem­o­rate the 150th birth­day of com­poser Richard Strauss.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Premier Kath­leen Wynne (cen­ter) and vice-gov­er­nor of Jiangsu prov­ince Xu Ming (to Wynne’s right) join the sign­ing cer­e­mony of the On­tario-Jiangsu Co­op­er­a­tion Agree­ments on Oct 27 in Nan­jing, China.

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