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Minister Fast Visits Edmonton Small Business to Discuss Benefits of Recent Trade Mission to Brazil

Opportunities in Brazil for Optilume Engineered Light Corporation from recent trade mission led by Minister Fast

(No. 218 - August 3, 2011 – 12:45 p.m. ET) The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia Pacific Gateway, and the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women, today visited Optilume Engineered Light Corporation, an Edmonton company, to discuss the ways international trade helps small businesses create jobs and economic growth for Canadian workers and their families.

“As small businesses represent 98 percent of businesses in Canada and employ nearly half of all working Canadians, we received a strong mandate to create opportunities for Canadian small businesses abroad in order to create good new jobs for Canadian workers and their families. This is why our government is focusing on strengthening economic growth and opening new markets for Canadian workers and small businesses,” said Minister Fast. “As I said in Brazil, when Canadian companies succeed globally, it translates into good jobs and increased prosperity for hardworking Canadians across the country.”

“I am pleased to see that Optilume, a dynamic company right here in Edmonton, is increasing Canada’s prosperity and boosting our local economy by doing business abroad,” said Minister Ambrose. “Strengthening the financial security of hardworking Canadians and their families is a key part of our government’s low-tax, job-creating free trade plan.”

Trade missions like the recent one to Brazil showcase Canada’s strengths and capabilities in target sectors and promote them in foreign markets while enhancing Canada’s profile and visibility on the international stage.

Optilume Engineered Light Corporation was one of 19 Canadian companies that participated in the targeted trade mission Minister Fast led to Brazil from June 26 to 30, 2011. Guy Meyer, Optilume’s Chief Executive Officer, believes that his participation in the trade mission will lead to greater successes for his company as a majority of its business is dependent on trade.

“I was pleased to have Minister Fast at our location in Edmonton. This was a culmination of a productive trade mission to Brazil,” said Mr. Meyer. “We have realized a great amount of traction as a direct result of that trade mission, and Minister Fast’s presence on the mission accelerated that traction. We are looking forward to working closely with Minister Fast’s office and with the Trade Commissioner Service in the future as we look at business in new geographic territories.”

Prior to his visit to Brazil, Minister Fast visited Paraguay, where he announced that Canada is beginning exploratory discussions aimed at enhancing Canada’s commercial relationship with South America’s largest common market, Mercosur. The Mercosur countries—Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay—represent nearly 250 million consumers and account for almost three quarters of all economic activity in South America.

Brazil’s economy is the largest in Latin America and the seventh-largest in the world, based on 2010 estimates. Canada-Brazil bilateral merchandise trade was $5.9 billion in 2010. Brazil was the eighth-largest source of foreign direct investment in Canada in 2010, with a stock of $13.5 billion invested. That same year, Brazil was the 11th-largest recipient of Canadian direct investment abroad, with a stock of $9.7 billion invested.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

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

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
Follow us on Twitter: @Canada_Trade

Michelle Bakos
Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose

Media Relations
Public Works and Government Services Canada