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International Trade Minister Ed Fast Concludes Successful Trade Mission to Russia

In less than a year, Minister Fast has led trade missions to all four high-growth “BRIC” countries

June 8, 2012 - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today concluded a trade mission to Russia, on which he was accompanied by nearly 30 Canadian companies in the fields of construction and building products, aerospace and mining. The mission was aimed at opening new markets that will grow Canada’s economy and benefit workers within those sectors. In his first year as international trade minister, Minister Fast has led trade missions to all of the “BRIC” countries—Brazil, Russia, India and China.

“Our government continues to take steps to protect and strengthen the financial security of hard-working Canadians and their families by deepening our trading relationships in dynamic and fast-growing markets around the world,” said Minister Fast. “Our government is committed to deepening Canada’s trade and investment ties with Russia, because we know that when Canadian companies succeed abroad, more jobs, growth and long-term prosperity are created at home.”

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.

“Russia presents us Canadian SMEs with an incredible potential for expanding exports, and this mission has helped to communicate our seriousness in partnering with our new Russian colleagues in a sincere way by having them witness Canada’s government orchestrate such a trade delegation,” said Cos Modafferi, President and CEO, PolarSat.

“This kind of support from the Canadian government provides a significant benefit to Canadian companies doing business in Russia by demonstrating that our country is indeed serious about promoting mutually beneficial trade and investment between our two nations,” said Lou Naumovski, Vice President and General Director, Moscow Representative Office of Kinross Gold Corporation.

“Cubex has worked with the Trade Commissioner Service for the last 30 years,” said Hemant M. Shah, Director, Cubex Ltd. “In fact, our success is the product of the service. The Trade Commissioner Service and trade missions are useful for opening doors in a challenging market.”

“This mission, and especially the direct engagement of Minister Fast with Russian leaders, is critical to Bombardier growing its business in Russia,” said Michael McAdoo, Vice President, International Trade, Bombardier Aerospace.

Minister Fast highlighted several Canadian success stories this week in Russia, including:

  • an agreement between Export Development Canada and Sberbank, the largest credit institution in Russia, to support the purchase of Canadian supplies and services;
  • successful Canada-Russia collaboration in aerospace, which the Minister witnessed during his tour of Tulpar Air’s Technic hangar in Kazan; and
  • approval granted to Bombardier Aerospace by Russia’s Interstate Aviation Committee to operate Q400 aircraft in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States.

“On this trade mission, I’ve seen first-hand the growth in demand for Canadian goods, services and technologies and how Russia can benefit from Canadian expertise in key sectors,” said Minister Fast. “Seeing how Canadian businesses are prospering and growing in Russia showed me how world-class Canadian companies can compete and succeed in dynamic and fast-growing markets around the world.”

While in Russia, Minister Fast met with many of Russia’s key political leaders, including Arkady Dvorkovich, Deputy Prime Minister and newly appointed co-chair of the Canada-Russia Intergovernmental Economic Commission, to discuss enhanced cooperation in areas including investment, science and technology, and the mining industry. Minister Fast used the opportunity to encourage the Russian government to continue reforms aimed at improving Russia’s attractiveness as a place to invest and to signal Canada’s intent to move the two countries’ bilateral trade and investment relationship forward. He also met with Andrei Belousov, Minister of Economic Development, Viktor Khristenko, chairman of the recently formed Eurasian Economic Commission, and Sergei Donskoy, Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, to discuss ways to strengthen Canada and Russia’s economic ties.

Minister Fast also celebrated the 70th anniversary of Canada-Russia diplomatic relations during his visit to Russia. Bilateral merchandise trade between the two countries expanded to nearly $2.8 billion in 2011, up from $620 million in 2002. Canada expects that Russia’s modernization agenda and its upcoming membership in the World Trade Organization will serve to further strengthen the bilateral trading relationship.

Prior to the beginning of the trade mission, Minister Fast attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting of Ministers Responsible for Trade, where he highlighted Canada’s commitment to free and open trade and urged APEC member economies to guard against protectionist trade measures.

For more information on Minister Fast’s trade mission to Russia, consult Minister Fast Visits Russia.

For more information on the APEC trade meeting, including the ministerial statement, consult APEC 2012.

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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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