Closer Economic Ties with Russia Will Create Jobs and Opportunity for Canadians

Canada-Russia Intergovernmental Economic Commission meeting wraps up with commitment for increased commercial cooperation

(No. 153 - June 2, 2011 - 6:45 p.m. ET) The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today concluded the eighth Canada-Russia Intergovernmental Economic Commission (IEC) session in Ottawa with First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov of Russia. The two ministers signed a joint ministerial statement and witnessed the signings of commitments that will increase bilateral trade, and commercial and scientific collaboration between Canada and Russia.

“Jobs and economic growth to benefit Canadians continue to be our government’s top priority. With trade representing some 60 percent of our economy, deepening our relationship with key countries like Russia is vital to our economic recovery,” said Minister Fast.

In addition to the joint ministerial statement, a statement on science and technology cooperation was signed that commits Canada and Russia to meet one year from now to map out possible areas of collaboration, including climate and arctic research, energy, nanotechnology and biomedicine.

Also, Canada and Russia signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on aerospace. This MOU will see people from the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada working side by side with their counterparts from Russia’s Union of Aviation Industrialists to develop strategies that will make both countries’ aerospace sectors more globally competitive in the years to come.

Bilateral merchandise trade with Russia totalled $2.8 billion in 2010, an increase of 12.3 percent from the previous year. Canadian merchandise exports to Russia totalled $1.2 billion in 2010, an increase of 33.8 percent from 2009.

“The Economic Commission meeting demonstrates Canada and Russia’s commitment to not only support traditional areas of trade, but also to develop such emerging areas of commercial cooperation as space and science and technology,” said Minister Fast. “As a fast-growing economy, Russia offers great potential for Canadian companies, which would strengthen our economic growth and lead to more jobs.”

The IEC is Canada’s most important forum for bilateral exchanges on trade and investment issues with Russia.

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A backgrounder follows containing details on the documents signed and the IEC.

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Adam Taylor
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Ed Fast
Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway
613-992-7332

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-996-2000
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Backgrounder - Canada-Russia Intergovernmental Economic Commission

The Canada-Russia Intergovernmental Economic Commission (IEC) was created by the 1993 Canada-Russia Agreement on Economic Cooperation to promote economic relations between Canada and Russia and to address issues affecting bilateral trade.

The IEC, which convenes every two years, consists of a plenary session and meetings of various working groups and round tables.

Five working groups normally report to the IEC. These groups discuss agriculture, energy, construction, mining, and the Arctic and the North. This year’s event features the inaugural meeting of the space working group. The 2011 IEC also includes round tables on science and technology, and investment. At these round tables, both government and industry are represented.

In addition, at the conclusion of the IEC, the following two instruments were signed:

Joint Canadian-Russian Ministerial Statement on Co-operation in the Area of Science, Technology and Innovation

The Joint Canadian-Russian Ministerial Statement on Co-operation in the Area of Science, Technology and Innovation commits the two governments to encourage and facilitate the pursuit of collaborative opportunities in emerging fields among government bodies, the private sector and academia. These fields include nanotechnology, arctic and climate research, energy and energy efficiency, advanced materials, life sciences and aerospace.

The forms of cooperation mentioned in the statement include the exchange of scientific and technological information; joint scientific seminars, conferences and workshops; the exchange or shared use of equipment and materials; the exchange of scientists and engineers; and joint research and development.

Memorandum of Understanding on Main Cooperation Initiatives Between the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada and the Union of Aviation Industrialists of Russia

This memorandum of understanding will allow the two countries to be more globally competitive in the aerospace sector. It will enhance cooperation in developing and producing advanced aerospace products and improving access to respective aerospace markets with a view to increasing trade. It will also encourage the exchange of information and promotion of aeronautical products as well as support the practical implementation of advanced standards and regulations. The Aerospace Industries Association of Canada is a member-driven, not-for-profit national organization.