Minister Fast Undertakes Trade Visit to China to Drive Canada’s Success in Key Priority Market

Minister Fast is first federal cabinet minister to fly direct Vancouver-Guangzhou route

(No. 288 - October 7, 2011 - 2:50 p.m. ET) The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today kicked off a trade visit to China to strengthen Canada-China trade and investment ties, meet with Chinese government ministers, showcase Canada’s strengths and capabilities and meet with and assist Canadian businesses seeking out new economic opportunities in this priority market.

“With one in five Canadian jobs linked to trade, our government’s focus is to create jobs and increase prosperity for hard-working Canadians,” said Minister Fast. “Deepening Canada-China economic ties is key to protecting and strengthening Canadians’ financial security.”

While in China, Minister Fast will visit Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Suzhou, Beijing and Qingdao, promoting Canadian capabilities in target sectors such as aerospace, financial and engineering services, high-value-added manufacturing, agri-food, lumber and energy.

Minister Fast today travelled on the new China Southern Airlines non-stop flight between Vancouver International Airport and Guangzhou, China. He is the first federal cabinet minister to fly on China Southern Airlines’ new direct flight to Guangzhou since its inauguration in June 2011. In July, China Southern Airlines also launched a direct cargo service between Vancouver and Shanghai.

“These direct transportation routes between Canada and China are important for trade, tourism and overall economic growth in Canada,” said the Minister. “Thanks to these direct passenger and cargo flights, and to our government’s investments in the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative, we are facilitating the movement of goods, services and people between Canada and the priority Asia-Pacific markets.”

To date, the Government of Canada has announced 47 infrastructure projects related to the Initiative valued at over $3.5 billion, with federal investments of more than $1.4 billion, in partnership with the four western provinces, with municipalities and with the private sector.

Canadian companies are accompanying the Minister on his visit to China, including Bombardier Aerospace, Cascade Aerospace, Cameco and Babcock & Wilcox Canada. Minister Fast will also be meeting with several Canadian companies based in China, such as Magna, Celestica, EXFO and SNC-Lavalin, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises looking to expand in China.

China, one of the world’s fastest-growing major economies, is now Canada’s second-largest individual merchandise trading partner. In fact, Canadian merchandise exports to China more than tripled between 2001 and 2010. The Government of Canada supports Canadian companies in China with 11 service points comprising five diplomatic missions and six trade offices.

For more information on the Minister’s visit, please consult Trade Visit to China.

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A backgrounder follows.

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Rudy Husny
Press Secretary
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
Follow us on Twitter: @Canada_Trade

Backgrounder - China Southern Airlines and GDP by Selected Provinces and Cities in China

China Southern Airlines

China Southern Airlines is the world’s third-largest airline by passenger volume and Asia’s largest airline by both fleet size and passenger volume. On June 15, 2011, China Southern Airlines launched its inaugural passenger service to Vancouver, followed by an air cargo service one month later. China Southern Cargo’s inaugural flight took place on July 5, 2011. Operating four times a week, the cargo service is part of a loop that operates from Shanghai to Los Angeles to Vancouver and back to Shanghai. It is the only dedicated China-Canada cargo service.

GDP by selected provinces and cities in China

In 2010, the GDP of Guangdong Province, where Guangzhou and Shenzhen are located, totalled $699 billion. This is larger than the GDP of Colombia and Argentina combined ($679 billion).

Shanghai is the largest city by population in China. In 2010, its GDP reached $264 billion, which if Shanghai were a country would place it 36th, just after Colombia.

Jiangsu Province, where Suzhou is located, had a GDP of $624 billion in 2010, larger than that of Bulgaria, Hungary, Ireland Lithuania and Romania combined ($600 billion).

Beijing, the capital of China, had a GDP of almost $216 billion in 2010. The city is the country’s political, cultural and educational centre, and is where most of China’s largest state-owned companies are headquartered.

Shandong Province, where Qingdao is located, had a GDP of $593 billion in 2010, which was larger than the GDP of Thailand and Malaysia combined ($574 billion).

(Sources: National Bureau of Statistics of China and Statistics Canada.)