Asia-Pacific Gateway investments delivering prosperity for Canada and China
(No. 302 - October 14, 2011 - 4:20 p.m. ET) The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today visited the port of Qingdao in China’s Shandong province, where he witnessed a shipment of B.C. wood products arriving from Canada’s Western Forest Products, Inc. Minister Fast saw first-hand how high-quality Canadian natural resources, including wood and agri-food products, are arriving in China in increasing volumes, thanks to the ease of movement made possible by Canada’s Asia-Pacific Gateway.
“To protect and strengthen the financial security of hardworking Canadians and their families, our government is committed to expanding Canada’s access to high-growth foreign markets,” said Minister Fast. “The Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative is a key part of our plan to help Canadian businesses expand and succeed in priority Asia-Pacific markets, leading to jobs, prosperity and economic opportunities for Canadians. Easing the movement of people, goods and services is also helping ensure China’s continued economic growth.”
Recently, Wood Resource Quarterly, a U.S. industry publication, forecast that Canadian lumber exports to China are on track to reach a record US$1.2 billion in 2011. British Columbia’s annual lumber shipments to China have also soared in value: sales more than tripled from about C$179 million in 2008 to reach $669 million in 2010. A number of sawmills in B.C., including operations in Quesnel, Vavenby and Mackenzie, have reopened to help meet the growing demand for lumber from China.
In one year alone (from 2009 to 2010), using Asia-Pacific Gateway infrastructure, Canadian exports to China increased by almost 19 percent, reaching $13.2 billion.
“Abundant and high-grade natural resources are arriving in China from Canada in increased volumes, thanks to our government’s strategic investments and partnerships in building the Asia-Pacific Gateway,” said Minister Fast. “These investments are positioning Canada as the gateway of choice between Asia and North America. In fact, Canada’s west coast ports are more than two days closer to Asian markets than are any other ports in North America.”
Canada’s Asia-Pacific Gateway is a world-class transportation network, providing an efficient, reliable and cost-effective connection between Asian and North American markets. To date, the Harper government has announced 47 infrastructure projects with the private sector, all four western provincial governments and municipalities. These projects are valued at over $3.5 billion.
“Canada’s plentiful and high-quality energy and natural resources are needed to ensure China’s continued economic growth, and Canadian businesses providing these to China create jobs and prosperity for Canadian workers and their families back home,” said Minister Fast. “Canada’s world-class Asia-Pacific Gateway is yet another example of how increased Canada-China trade and investment ties are benefiting both our countries.”
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:
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
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Western Forest Products, Inc., is a global solid-wood products company and the largest timber tenure holder and lumber producer on the British Columbia coast. Western’s high quality timber resource and specialized manufacturing capacity allow the company to produce quality products for customers around the world. Western has a long history of supplying products to China and currently sells 25 percent of its production in the Chinese market.