Minister Fast Highlights Canada’s Investment Strengths and the Enviable Competitive Advantages for Canada and the U.S. Created by our Supply Chains

Job-creating investments and our highly integrated economies bring jobs, prosperity and growth to Canadians and Americans alike, Minister tells investment conference

March 7, 2012 – The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today met with U.S. business leaders and investors to promote Canada’s strong economic fundamentals and business strengths, as well as to highlight the envied competitive advantages and prosperity created by the Canada-U.S. supply chains.

“With one in ten Canadian jobs linked to foreign investment, our government understands that attracting new investment creates jobs and prosperity for Canadian businesses, workers and their families,” said Minister Fast. “With our low taxes, strong, stable economy, generous research and development incentives, educated workforce and outstanding quality of life, Canada continues to be a great business partner for U.S. entrepreneurs and investors. Job-creating investments and strategic partnerships will help Canadian and U.S. businesses continue to succeed on both sides of our border.”

The conference is the last in a series of investment conferences that have taken place across the United States, organized in partnership with the Financial Times. In Los Angeles, Dallas, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Miami and Washington, potential investors and business leaders have met to discuss promising investment opportunities in growing sectors of the Canadian economy.

At the Washington conference, Minister Fast took the opportunity to highlight recent investments in Canada by U.S. businesses. This includes a multi-million dollar investment by Pioneer Hi-Bred to serve its growing business through the construction of a new seed production facility in Wingham, Ontario, and at its seven research facilities across Canada. Pioneer Hi-Bred is a wholly owned subsidiary of global science company DuPont. In addition, the Minister highlighted Ellison Surface Technologies’ recent expansion into Bromont, Quebec.

“As a leading provider of thermal spray coatings and supporting services for aircraft engines, Ellison is pleased to have reached an agreement with GE Aviation to become its partner in Canada, which represents our first investment outside of the United States,” said C. Michael Ellison, President and CEO of Cincinnati-based Ellison Surface Technologies. “With a dynamic economy and qualified workforce, Canada is a significant part of our long-term strategic initiatives. We look forward to being part of Canada’s growing and vibrant aerospace sector, which is currently ranked fifth in the world.”

“The Canada-U.S. partnership is the world’s greatest free trade success story,” said Minister Fast. “Our fully integrated supply chains help create and sustain an estimated eight million jobs in the United States. The strategic advantages of this integration fuel jobs and prosperity on both sides of our border every day, and it is crucial that any future trade negotiations preserve the envied competitive advantages created by these supply chains.

“Of 134 countries, Forbes magazine ranked Canada as the best place to do business. I encourage U.S. investors and business leaders to look North as part of their long-term growth strategies, which will create economic growth and jobs on both sides of the border.”

U.S. direct investment into Canada topped US$296.7 billion in 2010. Northern and eastern states in particular rely on Canada for up to 50 percent of their total trade, and Canada accounts for more than 900,000 jobs in California and 600,000 jobs in Texas. Currently, 35 U.S. states count Canada as their top export destination.

For additional details on Minister Fast’s visit to Washington, please consult Minister Fast Travels to Washington, D.C., and New York.

To find multilingual, comprehensive information on Canada’s many investment and business advantages, please consult Invest in Canada.

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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

Backgrounder - Canada’s Competitive Advantages

Canada welcomes foreign investment that contributes to its economic growth, jobs, innovation, competitiveness and long-term prosperity. Between 2001 and 2010, Canada was the world’s eighth-largest destination for inbound foreign direct investment.

Canada’s strong economic fundamentals and world-leading competitive advantages make it an investment destination of choice for global investors. These advantages include:

Strong economic growth: The International Monetary Fund predicts that Canada will be among the fastest-growing economies of the G-7 in 2012. Canada has also recorded the fastest employment growth in the G-7 since mid-2009, fully recovering all of the jobs lost during the recession.

Fiscal strength: Canada entered the global recession with a strong record of balanced budgets and low debt. Canada has the strongest fiscal position in the G-7 and among the best fiscal prospects in the G‑20. Canada is set to return to budgetary balance over the medium term. The federal debt-to-GDP ratio stood at 33.9 percent in 2010-11, and it is projected to decline to 31.7 percent by 2015-16.

Financial stability: Canada’s strength is underpinned by the world’s most stable financial sector, as affirmed by the World Economic Forum (WEF). At a time when financial institutions around the world were collapsing, no Canadian bank or insurer failed, and none required bailouts. Global Finance magazine has affirmed that five of the top 10 safest banks in North America are Canadian.

Lower business costs and taxes: Canada offers a low-cost, low-tax environment. Canada’s overall tax rate on new business investment is substantially lower than that of other G-7 countries. Canada has a combined federal-provincial statutory general corporate income tax rate of 26 percent, below the level of most other G-7 countries and about 13 percentage points lower than that of the United States. Canada is the first among G-20 members to make itself a tariff-free zone for manufacturers by eliminating tariffs on manufacturing inputs, machinery and equipment.

Excellence in research and innovation: Canada offers a winning environment for research and innovation, including world-leading R & D infrastructure, innovation incentives and scientific talent. Canada has the G-7’s highest expenditures on research and development done in institutions of higher education, when measured as a share of GDP. Canada offers one of the most generous R & D tax incentives in the industrialized world. Combined federal and provincial credits can save foreign investors, on average, up to 30 percent of investment in R & D in Canada.

A competitive workforce: Canada is home to a highly educated, flexible and multicultural workforce that is well-suited for today’s knowledge-based economy. Canada has one of the world’s best-educated workforces with the highest proportion of post-secondary graduates in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Canada ranks second in the G-7 and fourth in the world for the quality of its management schools, according to WEF.

Exceptional quality of life: Canada’s high quality of life provides a great backdrop for the success of individuals, families and globally engaged companies. According to the OECD’s Better Life Index, Canada has the highest quality of life in the G-7 and second-highest in the OECD. The Economist Intelligence Unit ranks Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary among the world’s top five cities for liveability.

A gateway to the world: With the shortest sailing time between Asia and North America, Canada offers businesses ready access to a lucrative North American market of nearly 450 million consumers. Canada has major international shipping ports on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts (Halifax, Vancouver and Prince Rupert) and along the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway (Montréal). Seventeen of Canada’s 20 largest cities are located within a 90-minute drive of the Canada-U.S. border.

Find out more at Invest in Canada.