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International Trade Minister Ed Fast Leads Trade Mission to Russia

Minister also attending APEC trade ministers meeting to highlight Canada’s commitment to free and open trade

June 3, 2012 - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today announced he is leading a trade mission to Russia with nearly 30 companies selected by the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service from the building products and construction, aerospace, and mining sectors. The trade mission takes place from June 4 to 8, 2012.

“Our government’s top priority is the economy—creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for hard-working Canadians and their families,” said Minister Fast. “That’s why we remain focused on developing and implementing prudent pro-trade, economic growth measures. As a growing economy, Russia is a priority market for Canada, and we are committed to growing the Canadian economy by helping Canadian workers succeed in this emerging market.”

In his first year as trade minister, Minister Fast has now led trade missions to all of the “BRIC” countries—Brazil, Russia, India and China. BRIC countries are recognized for their tremendous growth potential and as countries that need Canadian products, services, skills and expertise.

In order to maximize the benefits to the Canadian economy and to Canadian workers and their families, the Harper government’s approach to trade missions is to lead strategically focused, sector-specific missions to countries that offer Canada the greatest potential for growth and success. The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service selected the sectors and developed the itinerary for this mission to match Canadian capabilities with such opportunities in Russia.

“This year, as we celebrate the 70th anniversary of Canada-Russia diplomatic relations, we are committed to deepening our trade and investment relationship with Russia,” said Minister Fast. “In what remains a fragile global economic climate, our government is committed to ensuring that Canadian workers have access to priority markets around the world. That is why we continue to pursue deeper ties with the world’s largest, most dynamic and fastest-growing markets as part of the most ambitious trade expansion plan in Canadian history.”

The trade mission will begin in St. Petersburg and then go to Moscow, where Minister Fast will join on June 6. Bilateral meetings between Minister Fast and key Russian officials have been scheduled in both Rostov-on-Don and Moscow, where the trade mission will conclude. 

While in Russia, Minister Fast will also participate in the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting in Kazan. At the APEC meeting, the minister will highlight Canada’s strong commitment to supporting freer and more open trade and reiterate Canada’s belief that protectionism is toxic to global recovery efforts. 

The value of the Canada-Russia bilateral trade relationship totalled $2.78 billion in 2011. Russia has emerged as one of Canada’s most important trading partners, with Canadian merchandise exports to Russia growing from $179 million in 1999 to $1.5 billion in 2011. Last December, Canada was a strong supporter of Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization.

For more information, please consult Minister Fast Visits Russia.

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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

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
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