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International Trade Minister Ed Fast Promotes World-Class Canadian Technology in Paris

Canada and France renew pledge to collaborate in key economic and commercial areas

(No. 374 - December 13, 2011 - 1:55 p.m. ET) The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today wrapped up a trade visit to Paris, where he promoted Canadian technology and emphasized how more collaboration between Canada and France in the areas of trade, innovation and science and technology (S&T) will help deepen the prosperity of workers in both countries.

Minister Fast met with Pierre Lellouche, France’s Secretary of State for Foreign Trade, to discuss their shared commitment to a Canada-EU trade agreement, which they agreed will create jobs and prosperity for workers and families in both countries. Following their meeting, Secretary of State Lellouche and Minister Fast renewed the Canada-France Joint Action Plan, which has led to increased cooperation in innovation and S&T since its inception in 2006.

“The Canada-France Joint Action Plan is a pledge to identify new areas of collaboration in key economic and commercial areas, which is helping to deepen our trade and investment ties,” said Minister Fast. “Investment and innovation are key drivers of growth and prosperity in the knowledge-based economy and are important parts of this plan.”

The renewed pledge for 2012 and 2013 of the Canada-France Joint Action Plan commits Canada and France to:

  • strengthening cooperation in areas relating to competitiveness, innovation and S&T;
  • supporting companies in business development, market access and cross-investment promotion; and
  • continuing to keep the private sector apprised of the progress of the Canada-EU comprehensive and economic trade agreement negotiations to ensure Canadian and French companies are fully aware of the benefits such an agreement will bring.

Increased information sharing and networking has guided several companies to success in Canada and France over the years. For example, this year ChocMod, a French company that specializes in truffles and confectionery and exports to 45 countries on five continents, invested $7 million to build a chocolate truffle factory in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec.

Minister Fast and Secretary of State Lellouche also presented the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises awards, which recognize a Canadian small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) that is successful in France and a French SME that is successful in Canada. This year, the awards recognized Conserval Engineering, a Canadian company active in France that delivers custom-engineered renewable energy solutions and Alstef Automation, a French firm active in Canada that provides logistical solutions for the management of baggage in airports. Alstef Canada was created in Montreal in 2007. In 2009, it had revenues of $6.5 million and had 19 employees in Canada. Alstef was chosen based on its rapid and promising growth and its innovative technologies. 

“These two companies are examples of businesses whose innovation and technological advancements have made them front-runners in their fields and at the same time clearly show the benefit of closer Canada-France economic ties,” said Minister Fast. “Thanks to their success at home and abroad, they are creating jobs and prosperity for workers in both our countries.”

During his visit, Minister Fast saw Conserval Engineering world-class technology first-hand. Its SolarWall technology heats building ventilation air and improves indoor air quality. The company expects significant growth in demand for the technology in Europe. Its clients in France include industrial sites, retail stores, colleges, gymnasiums, schools, multi-unit buildings, offices and warehouses.

“We’re honoured to be recognized as a small company in France with Canadian roots,” said John Hollick, President of SolarWall Europe and CEO and co-founder of Conserval Engineering. “Our European subsidiary, SolarWall Europe, has grown to annual sales of well over 1 million euros and is projecting impressive growth in the next few years. There is widespread applicability for the SolarWall technology throughout the commercial and industrial building sector in France.”

France is Canada’s eighth-largest trading partner, with merchandise trade totalling $7.8 billion in 2010. France is a key economic partner for Canada in commerce, investment and S&T. In 2010, France was the fifth-largest investor in Canada and the twelfth-largest destination for Canadian direct investment abroad.

Minister Fast was in France as part of a trade visit to Europe to promote the two-way benefits of a Canada-EU trade agreement, as well as to strengthen bilateral trade and investment ties between Canada and key European Union members and to highlight Canada as a destination of choice for European investors.

For more information on the Minister’s visit, please consult Minister Fast Visits Europe and Attends WTO Conference.

Minister Fast visits a SolarWall installation in Paris.

Download a high resolution version of this photo

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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

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

Backgrounder - Conserval Engineering

Conserval Engineering Inc. was created in 1977 in Toronto by a group of senior engineers. The company employs 25 full-time staff in its locations in Buffalo, New York and Paris.

Conserval Engineering developed innovative applications in solar heating and energy conservation technologies. Its primary business is the design, manufacture and installation of the SolarWall solar heating systems.

The SolarWall technology is a solar air heating system that heats a building’s incoming air using solar energy, thus reducing energy consumption and improving indoor air quality. It is one of the few cost-effective solar technologies available on the market, a fact that has been recognized by many government organizations, including Natural Resources Canada, the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. military. SolarWall systems have been used extensively in North America, particularly in Canada.

Recognizing the tremendous potential of the SolarWall technology to help EU member countries achieve their target of 20 percent of heating energy from renewable sources, Conserval Engineering decided to formally open a European division in 2008.

France represents 50 percent of European sales. The company is expecting significant growth in Europe due to the re-definition of solar thermal collectors and the significance of their contribution to the EU’s 2020 Renewable Energy targets.