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International Trade Minister Ed Fast Advances Canada’s Economic Interests in Asia-Pacific Region

Minister Fast pursues deepened trade ties in region and showcases Canadian investment advantages at 2011 APEC meeting in Hawaii

(No. 346 - November 14, 2011 – 12:20 p.m. ET) The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today returns to Canada following a productive trade ministerial meeting at the 2011 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Honolulu.

At the meeting of 21 member economies bordering the Pacific, Minister Fast supported free and open markets, green growth and efforts to reduce barriers to small and medium-sized enterprises. He also supported APEC’s goal of greater economic integration through enhanced regulatory cooperation. In addition, Canada conveyed its intent to enter into formal consultations with members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on Canada’s possible participation in negotiations.

“Canada has strong and growing ties to the Asia-Pacific region,” said Minister Fast. “We recognize the TPP as a means to further strengthen those ties and contribute to what promises to become a broadly-based vehicle for economic integration in the region, a goal we all share as members of APEC.”

On the margins of the APEC meeting, Minister Fast also signed a telecommunications cooperation agreement with Mexico that will help Canadian producers of smart phones and other telecommunications products reach Mexican consumers faster and with less expense, by eliminating the need for retesting in Mexico. He also met with business leaders and potential investors to promote Canada as a top destination for job-creating foreign investment.

“Our government’s top priority remains jobs and the economy,” said Minister Fast. “Canada supports strengthening economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region by working to address the issues that businesses confront today. We all have a collective interest in reducing the time, cost and uncertainty of moving goods and services through Asia-Pacific supply chains.”

In addition to pursuing key objectives in the group sessions for trade ministers, Minister Fast held separate discussions with his counterparts from nine APEC member economies, including Australia, China and the United States. Canada has a number of initiatives already under way in the region, including a joint economic study with Japan on a possible economic partnership agreement and a working group with China to study areas where our economies are complementary.

APEC’s member economies account for more than 2.7 billion people, over half of the world’s gross domestic product, and over 80 percent of Canada’s total merchandise trade.

Notable features of the APEC meeting this year were the CEO Summit, of which Canada was a gold sponsor, and an exhibition to promote small and medium-sized enterprises.

“To world leaders and business executives alike, I took every opportunity to highlight Canada’s continuing strong performance in the face of ongoing challenges in the global economy,” said Minister Fast. “With one of the fastest economic growth rates in the G-7, low business costs and taxes and the world’s soundest banking system, Canada offers many advantages as an investment destination for global business.”

Among the business executives Minister Fast met were John Rice, President and Chief Executive Officer of General Electric Global Growth and Operations, and Emery Koenig, Executive Vice-President and Chief Risk Officer of Cargill, Inc.

“Canada is a country of enormous opportunity for investment,” said Mr. Rice. “Our company has been operating in Canada for 100 years, and we continue to grow and invest in the country.”

While Canada was top of mind among CEOs as a result of its presence at the summit, Canada was also represented at the APEC Small and Medium Enterprise Innovation Exhibition, where visitors were able to meet with representatives of three Canadian companies, Endurance Wind Power of British Columbia and Temporal Power and Morgan Solar of Ontario, which are leaders in the development of cost-effective renewable energy and sustainable technologies.

“Canada is taking advantage of this excellent platform to promote its cutting-edge technology and innovations to world leaders and investors,” said Minister Fast. “Canada’s presence where business leaders and decision makers gather helps Canadian businesses access new markets, creating new jobs and deepened prosperity for hard-working Canadians at home.”

Since 1994, investment holdings in Canada by APEC economies have risen by an average of 7.2 percent per year, reaching $343.3 billion in 2010.

For more information on the Minister’s participation at the APEC Summit, please consult: Minister Fast at APEC.

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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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