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Minister Fast Hails Deepening of Canada-Russia Trade

June 17, 2013 - Moscow, Russia - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, together with Arkady V. Dvorkovich, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister, today set the course for the future of Canada-Russia commercial relations at the 9th session of the Canada-Russia Intergovernmental Economic Commission (IEC) being held in Moscow. The two ministers also addressed a concurrent meeting of the Canada-Russia Business Council, which brings together business leaders from the Canada Eurasia Russia Business Association and the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs.

At the IEC meeting, Minister Fast and Deputy Prime Minister Dvorkovich reviewed the commission’s achievements, including its progress in the agri-business, mining and space sectors. They went on to discuss the significant and growing opportunities for collaboration between the two countries in the Arctic, as well as in the areas of science and technology, infrastructure development and energy.

Minister Fast and the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, also raised Canada’s concerns about Russia’s ban on ractopamine in pork—a ban that is not based on scientific evidence.

The IEC is the key forum for Canada and Russia to discuss trade and investment ties. It was created with the signing of the Agreement Between Canada and the Russian Federation on Economic Cooperation in May 1993. The most recent IEC meeting was held in Ottawa in June 2011.

Canada’s Global Commerce Strategy identifies Russia as a priority market. Canada and Russia’s similar northern climates, geography and resource endowments provide the basis and the potential for linking Canadian technology, equipment and services to the Russian economy. In order to help further this potential, Minister Fast led a trade mission to Russia in June 2012 comprising nearly 30 Canadian companies from the aerospace and space, building products and construction, and mining sectors.

In 2012, bilateral merchandise trade between Canada and Russia increased 10 percent.

For more information about this visit, please see Canada-Russia Intergovernmental Meeting.

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A backgrounder follows.

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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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Backgrounder - Joint Statement of the Canada-Russia Intergovernmental Economic Commission (IEC) Ninth Session

In accordance with the earlier reached agreement, the ninth session of the Canada-Russia Intergovernmental Economic Commission (IEC) was held on June 17, 2013, in Moscow, concurrently with the meeting of the Canada-Russia Business Council (CaRBC).

The IEC session was co-chaired by Arkady V. Dvorkovich, Deputy Chair of the Government of the Russian Federation, and the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway. The IEC delegations included senior officials of federal ministries and agencies, regional governments and leading representatives of the business communities of both countries.

The co-chairs noted that considerable progress has been achieved in the development of bilateral trade and economic relations since the previous IEC session two years ago, in spite of the ongoing global economic challenges.

Both sides welcomed the regular meeting of the CaRBC, headed jointly by Alisher B. Usmanov, General Director of LLC Gazprom Investholding, and Nathan Hunt, President of the Canada Eurasia Russia Business Association (CERBA). They informed participants in the IEC session about the council’s activities and the theme-based round tables held within the framework of the CaRBC.

They stressed that the results of the round-table discussions, devoted to such themes as cooperation in the banking, aerospace and investment sectors, provide evidence of the deepening cooperation between Canadian and Russian business partners, cooperation that increasingly extends to new sectors.

The IEC co-chairs noted with satisfaction the intensification of bilateral cooperation in the investment sector. They exchanged information about the activities on both sides aimed at improving the investment climate, and agreed to inform each other about new developments in their programs and policies designed to protect foreign investment.

The two sides welcomed the implementation of joint projects in such areas as agriculture, energy, transport engineering, aviation industry, space, housing construction and mining. They discussed ways to further promotion of direct investment in their countries.

The two sides expressed hope that the next bilateral seminar on cooperation in investment, scheduled to be held under the aegis of the CaRBC in October 2013 in Toronto, Canada, would make a material contribution to the development of investment cooperation between the organizations and companies of both countries.

The co-chairs stressed the fact that further development of Canada-Russia trade, economic and investment cooperation and the ever-expanding direct contacts between representatives of the business and scientific communities call for further effort aimed at simplifying visa procedures for Canadian and Russian citizens.

The co-chairs received the reports of the activities of the Canada-Russia working groups in the framework of the IEC (the working groups on agriculture, Arctic and the North, construction/infrastructure, mining, space and energy).

The co-chairs welcomed participation in the ninth session of the Canada-Russia IEC of the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, and stressed the ever-increasing role of Canada-Russia bilateral cooperation in agriculture.

The two sides recognized the importance of the establishment of Russia-Canada Livestock Consulting Centre in Orenburg, Russia, and its role in advancing trade and cooperation in livestock, genetics and animal husbandry, with a view to promote the effective use of technology. They noted that the establishment of a training laboratory for embryo transfer and a demonstration farm in Orenburg Oblast [region] by Russian partners would constitute positive progress toward further cooperation.

The two sides underscored the importance of the second Russia-Canada Agribusiness Forum, held in Orenburg in October 2012, and agreed to hold the third Canada-Russia Agribusiness Forum in Canada in 2013-14.

The two sides recognized the importance of industry collaboration in the meat sector through the establishment of the Meat Quality Learning Centre in Russia, a joint initiative of Canada Pork International and Russia’s National Meat Association.

The Canadian side pointed out that that sustainable growth of bilateral trade and cooperation depends on stable and predictable access for products to the markets of both countries, relying on science-based measures. In this context, the two sides emphasized the importance of the cooperation between the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance of the Russian Federation and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

The two sides took note of the information concerning the results of the inspection visits by representatives of the Rosselkhoznadzor (for the Customs Union) to Canadian establishments and agreed that remaining issues as a result of the audit should be resolved in a mutually agreeable manner through close cooperation between the competent authorities of Canada and Russia.

The two sides noted the importance of the IEC Mining Working Group in establishing regular contacts and maintaining Canada-Russia relations in the mining sector. They acknowledged the stable and long-term nature of cooperation through the Mining Working Group and the opportunities for widening cooperation in improving the subsoil legislation, aimed at establishing favourable conditions for investment in the mining sector, and undertaking joint exploration and education projects in Russia, Canada and third countries, with the ultimate objective of ensuring a favourable investment climate for foreign investors in both countries.

The two sides agreed to use important mining events, such as the annual conference of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada and the World Mining Congress in Canada, as platforms to advance bilateral activities of the Mining Working Group.

The two sides confirmed availability of ample opportunity for Canada-Russia cooperation in the energy sector in bilateral and multilateral forums and will continue to seek opportunities for cooperation during the upcoming regular meeting of the IEC Working Group on Energy scheduled for June 25, 2013, on the margins of the Moscow International Oil & Gas Exhibition.

During the meeting, the two sides will discuss energy efficiency in the oil and gas sector, development of unconventional oil and gas resources, and offshore oil and gas production under harsh conditions. In order to benefit mutually in advancing their common interests, Canada and Russia will continue to dialogue on energy on a bilateral basis where possible, including through the international energy organizations of which both are members.

The co-chairs attached priority importance to cooperation in the construction area. At the same time, they agreed to widen the terms of reference of the IEC Working Group on Construction and to transform it into the IEC Working Group on Infrastructure (Infrastructure Projects), which will deal with the development of the mechanisms to implement and support joint Canada-Russia projects. The co-chairs welcomed the constituent meeting of the new working group on June 17, 2013, in Moscow.

Taking into consideration the importance of, and the promising outlook for, bilateral cooperation in space, the two sides noted with satisfaction the advancement in drafting a Canada-Russia intergovernmental agreement on exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes.

The two sides welcomed the regular meeting of the IEC Working Group on Space Cooperation. Issues related to the bilateral cooperation in exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes were discussed by representatives of the Federal Space Agency of the Russian Federation, the Canadian Space Agency, and Russian and Canadian space industry and research organizations.

The co-chairs noted the importance of working to support economic development in Arctic and northern regions, including support to the traditional economic practices of indigenous and other northern communities. They agreed to continue exploratory exchanges at the working level to identify practical opportunities for cooperation in the areas of Arctic science, cold weather technology and northern transportation projects technology and services. They further noted that Arctic science plays a key role in supporting sustainable economic development and protecting fragile Arctic ecosystems.

The co-chairs noted the particular importance of research, technical and innovation cooperation for the purpose of ensuring long-term economic prosperity and competitiveness within the economies of both countries. They expressed hope for continued progress in cooperation in targeted areas of mutual benefit, based on the Joint Canadian-Russian Ministerial Statement on Co-operation in the Area of Science, Technology and Innovation signed in 2011 during the eighth IEC session, such as the highly productive Canadian mission to Russia in the nuclear medicine and reactor design technologies sectors (June 2013).

Canada looks forward to further opportunities for cooperation in the research, development and deployment of low-enriched uranium technologies for medical isotope production.

The two sides welcomed strengthening of the ties between their research centres and universities, including those associated with the development of innovative business in large research centres in Canada and Russia.

The co-chairs noted the potential for development of Canada-Russia cooperation in the area of innovation and entrepreneurship. In this regard, the two sides recommended that Canadian and Russian companies and organizations continue to explore opportunities for cooperation with the clusters of the Skolkovo Innovation Centre.

The two sides took a favourable view of activities aimed at strengthening cooperation between Canadian and Russian financial institutions, including the outcomes of the Banking and Finance round table held on June 17, 2013, in Moscow (arranged by the CaRBC).

The co-chairs noted the ever-growing level of cooperation between the constituent regions of the Russian Federation and Canadian provinces and territories, including cooperation in the areas of agribusiness, aerospace, energy, mining, information technologies, transport and housing construction.

The Canadian delegation welcomed Russia’s intentions to become a full-fledged member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), welcomed its progress to date, and encouraged its continuing efforts to meet the terms and conditions as set out in its OECD accession roadmap.

In reviewing results, the co-chairs expressed the willingness to be guided by the objective of long-term cooperation in such strategic areas of interaction as the Arctic, space, agriculture and residential housing, and of the important projects in the mining, energy and energy efficiency, transportation, machine building, aircraft construction, medicine, telecommunications, investment and banking/financial sectors. The sides noted the relevance of implementing such activity in a series of new bilateral documents intended to stimulate work in these areas.

The co-chairs agreed to hold the tenth, jubilee session of the IEC in Canada in 2015 and to ensure regular contacts and meetings at the levels of the commission co-chairs, the working groups and the national secretariats.

Signed in Moscow on June 17, 2013