Economic Action Plan 2012 emphasized our Government's commitment to creating jobs, economic growth, and long-term prosperity for Canadian workers and their families.
As a member of the International Trade Committee since 2006, I have witnessed our Government pursue an aggressive trade agenda to achieve these goals by opening new markets for Canadian business.
To this end, our government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, is undertaking the most ambitious pro-trade plan in Canada's history, and deepening our trading relationships with large, dynamic, and fast-growing economies around the world.
In order to grow Canada’s commercial ties in priority markets around the world, help Canadian businesses expand and succeed abroad, and build on our commitment to engage and include Canadian businesses in our broad and ambitious pursuit of deeper trading relationships, we are moving forward with a number of comprehensive trade missions for 2012.
These comprehensive trade missions are government-led business missions, which typically employ the following structure:
- led by Minister or Caucus member with multiple intersection points with delegates;
- specific sectors identified and advertised to potential participants;
- typically one week in duration, including 2-3 cities and/or countries;
- full business program for participants, including: briefings, plenary sessions, business-to-business meetings, networking events and site visits;
- 4-6 month planning and recruitment period for participants.
It is important to note that local business participants join these missions at their own expense.
The Minister of International Trade along with the Parliamentary Secretary for International Trade is planning a total of 6 Canada Trade Missions for the 2012 calendar year. Since our government first came to office in 2006, there have been 11 Canada Trade Missions. Now that Canadians have entrusted our government with a strong, stable majority mandate, we have the ability to plan long-term and move ahead with 6 trade missions, the most undertaken in a single year, in order to benefit Canadian workers and businesses.
All trade missions will be publicly announced in the coming weeks and more information will be posted to www.tradecommissioner.gc.ca/eng/trade-missions/home.jsp.
The first mission already underway at the time of the writing of this column is to:
- Russia (St. Petersburg, Moscow) – June 3-8, 2012
The targeted sectors are aerospace, building products and construction, and mining.
The further proposed 2012 comprehensive trade missions are:
- Thailand and Philippines – August 26-31, 2012\The targeted sectors are energy and clean-tech sectors.
- Haiti, Dominican Republic – Autumn 2012
With the ongoing reconstruction and development initiatives in Haiti, the leadership role our government has and continues to play is generating positive opportunities and advantages for Canadian companies. For the purpose of this mission, we will be focusing on the infrastructure and mining sectors. Mining is the primary sector for Canadian development in the Dominican Republic. Minister Valcourt, in his capacity as Minister of State for la Francophonie, will lead this mission on my behalf.
- Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Libya – October 5-11, 2012
This will primarily be an education, health and infrastructure focused trade mission.
- Panama, Colombia, Peru – November 11-16, 2012
Infrastructure and mining are the most prominent sectors for trade in these regions.
- Israel – late November 2012
Life sciences and information and communications technology will be the focus for this trade mission.
Here in Kelowna-Lake Country, we are in a great position to take advantage of trade opportunities and many of our companies already do with some almost entirely focused on exporting their goods and services.
With Kelowna consistently ranked as one of the top entrepreneurial cities in BC and an economy that is extremely diversified, reflecting traditional and new industries, businesses in the Okanagan Valley are more than ready to take advantage.
I would very much appreciate our business community’s input on both current and future trade missions. As we begin planning for 2013, it would be helpful to know if there are constituents, businesses, or other special interests who could be assisted through a trade mission? I welcome your feedback, which I will pass along to the Minister.
To provide feedback or for more information on any of the trade missions, please don’t hesitate to contact my office at [email protected] or by calling (250)470-5075.
Canada, like the Okanagan, is brimming with confidence and potential. With your participation, our government’s broad, pro-trade plan, the most ambitious in our country’s history, will help us achieve our economic goals and ensure long-term prosperity for Canadian workers and their families.
Ron Cannan is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country.