Minister Ablonczy's Trade Mission to Americas Paves Way for Future Prosperity

Infrastructure mission to Peru, Colombia and Panama displays Canada’s growing trade in region

November 16, 2012 - The Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs), was in Panama City today to conclude the final leg of her six-day, three-country infrastructure trade mission to the Americas. Minister Ablonczy led 18 Canadian organizations in the areas of energy, transportation and water to Peru, Colombia and Panama on behalf of the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway.

“Our government is committed to opening new markets for our exporters and ensuring Canadian companies take advantage of the preferred access the most ambitious trade expansion plan in our nation’s history is creating for them,” said Minister Fast. “These missions, coordinated by the Trade Commissioner Service, are instrumental in job creation and prosperity because they showcase the strengths and expertise of Canadian companies and promote business opportunities in targeted sectors and markets.”

“Our government is forging ahead abroad to create jobs and prosperity for workers and their families at home,” said Minister Ablonczy. “Through our pro-trade leadership on this mission, we deepened Canada’s engagement in the region, cemented lasting relationships for Canadian companies and reinforced our commitment to future trade in the Americas.”

Minister Ablonczy emphasized to trade mission participants and local companies how Canada’s free trade agreements with Peru and Colombia are creating opportunities and strengthening commercial relations. She also highlighted the benefits that will flow from the Canada-Panama Free Trade Agreement, which was recently approved by the House of Commons and is on the way to the Senate. In addition, Minister Ablonczy demonstrated Canada’s ongoing commitment to building prosperity in the Americas – a foreign policy priority since 2007 – by announcing Canada’s newly achieved observer status with the Pacific Alliance.

In meetings with private-sector leaders in all three countries, Minister Ablonczy underlined the experience and innovation that Canadian companies bring to the table. In meetings with her counterparts, she emphasized that Canadian companies are good corporate citizens, creating jobs and prosperity in a responsible manner in the countries where they operate.

“The contacts made for both direct sales and local agents through this trade mission have provided Xanatos Marine with many new opportunities,” said Dave Thompson, Xanatos Marine Ltd.’s Business Development Manager. “The exceptional effort made by the trade commissioners both in the pre-departure preparation and during the trip has proved again how valuable the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service is to business in Canada.”

Canada’s trading relationship with Panama has grown by 78 percent since 2009, and Panama is now Canada’s second-largest export market in Central America, after Costa Rica.

Peru is Canada’s second-largest trading partner and third most important destination for direct investment in South and Central America.

Colombia is Canada’s fourth-largest merchandise trading partner in the Caribbean and Latin America (excluding Mexico) and third-largest merchandise export destination in this region.

For a photo of Minister Ablonczy observing the infrastructure construction on the Panama Canal, please visit Minister Ablonczy Visits Canal Expansion Project.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Joshua Zanin
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs)
613-944-2300

Rudy Husny
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Ed Fast
Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway
613-992-7332
rudy.husny@international.gc.ca

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-996-2000
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