Minister Ed Fast Wraps Up Successful Six-City Trade Visit to China

Minister stresses win-win benefits of closer Canada-China ties and highlights Canadian capabilities on first official trade visit to China

(No. 303 – October 14, 2011 – 7:30 p.m. ET) The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today wrapped up a successful week-long visit to six cities in China, where he showcased Canada’s economic strengths and capabilities and discussed ways to strengthen the Canada-China relationship.

“I was pleased to be in China to demonstrate what Canada has to offer and to help expand our trade and investment relationship,” said Minister Fast. “Closer and deeper economic ties between Canada and China will benefit both our countries by creating more jobs, opportunities and prosperity in both countries.”

In addition to the capital, Beijing, and financial centre Shanghai, Minister Fast visited Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Suzhou and Qingdao, key regional centres in China.

“Given China’s growing middle class and consumer base, steady economic growth, technology needs and demands for energy and natural resources, the potential for deeper Canada-China economic relations and greater prosperity for Canadians is enormous,” said Minister Fast. “Canadian expertise and capabilities in a range of sectors can help ensure China’s continued economic growth and provide the services and products China needs. We are trustworthy partners, whose capabilities are delivering real benefits to China and its burgeoning middle class. This was demonstrated well by the activities we undertook over this past week.”

The trade visit focused on seven sectors key to deepening economic relations between Canada and China, sectors where Canadian companies have demonstrated their capability as producers of high-value-added goods and services of world-class quality: aerospace, financial services, energy, advanced manufacturing, education, agri-food and natural resources.

During the trade visit, Minister Fast met with several senior government officials, including Chen Deming, China’s Minister of Commerce, and Wang Yang, Party Secretary of Guangdong, China’s wealthiest and most populous province.

“In my meetings with Chinese leaders, I am pleased to report, we had very productive discussions on a range of issues, including deeper cooperation in the seven key sectors that were the focus of this visit,” said Minister Fast. “We also noted a shared ambition to complete negotiations on a foreign investment protection agreement that will provide certainty and security for investors from both our countries.”

Minister Fast also met with representatives of Canadian companies operating in China in the key sectors of aerospace, financial services and energy. He also visited the manufacturing plants of two Canadian companies, Magna and Celestica. Canadian businesses that accompanied Minister Fast on the trade visit from Canada were Babcock & Wilcox, Cameco, Bombardier Aerospace and Cascade Aerospace.

“Greater cooperation between Canada and China will contribute to the success not only of major corporations, but also the success of their small and medium-sized partners,” said Minister Fast.

The Government of Canada is committed to helping Canadian businesses expand and succeed in China, through its five diplomatic missions and six trade offices. The government is also facilitating increased trade between the two countries through its strategic investments and partnerships in the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative.

“Thanks to our government’s infrastructure investments in developing the Asia-Pacific Gateway, people and goods, including plentiful and high-quality resources, can travel more quickly and more efficiently between Canada and China than between China and any other place in North America,” said Minister Fast.

Lastly, Minister Fast followed up on a government commitment in the 2011 Budget by announcing the establishment of a panel of eminent Canadians to help develop recommendations for an international education strategy.

“This strategy will be designed to attract the best and brightest students and researchers to Canada, deepen our relationship with priority markets around the world, expand delivery of Canadian education services around the globe and build deeper partnerships between Canadian and international education institutions,” said Minister Fast. “This strategy will be of critical importance to our country, in a world where prosperity is so integrally linked to innovation and high-quality ideas and research.”

China is one of the world’s fastest-growing major economies and is now Canada’s second-largest trading partner. Canadian merchandise exports to China more than tripled between 2001 and 2010.

“In these uncertain global economic times, in order to protect and strengthen the financial security of Canadians, our government is committed to deepening partnerships with high-growth markets around the world,” concluded Minister Fast. “Our government is committed to deepening Canada’s trade and investment ties here in China, relationships that will be critical to the prosperity of hardworking Canadian businesses, workers and their families, now and into the future.”

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

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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
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