Ambitious trade missions

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. 

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About the Author

The Honourable Ron Cannan was first elected as Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country in January, 2006. He was subsequently elected in the 2008 and 2011 federal elections. He is a member of the Conservative Caucus.

On September 13th, 2012 Ron was summoned to be a member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and will provide advice to the Government as a member of the Priorities and Planning Sub-Committee on Government Administration.

Ron successfully uses his experience and knowledge as a long-time Kelowna City Councillor and regional government representative to be an effective and enthusiastic champion for his riding and his constituents.

His greatest satisfaction comes from helping local organizations and citizens obtain the support they require from Ottawa. 

He is also dedicated to doing what it takes to ensure that the growing and vibrant communities in his riding continue to thrive and prosper.

He is proud of the partnership and cooperation between federal, provincial and municipal governments which have resulted in significant infrastructure projects including upgrades to Highway 97, expansion of the Kelowna International Airport, a new horticulture strategy for fruit growers, obtaining a full service passport office for Kelowna and addressing critical economic issues such as labour skills shortages.

He works closely with the local Chambers of Commerce and once a year arranges meetings for the Chamber with Cabinet Ministers and senior policy staff in Ottawa to move forward important local issues such as crime prevention and labour skills shortages.

He is also an ardent champion for important community initiatives including homelessness, mental health, women’s resources, and support of arts and culture.

On Parliament Hill, Ron has been a member of the Standing Committee on International Trade since 2006 supporting initiatives which will broaden the economic opportunities for local businesses and businesses Canada-wide.

In previous parliamentary sessions Ron has been a member of the Standing Committee for Government Operations and Estimates, Veteran’s Affairs, Human Resources and Social Development, the Scrutiny of Regulations Committee, and the Standing Committee for Fisheries and Oceans.

Ron is also involved in a variety of inter-parliamentary organizations: he is Vice Chair of the Canada-US Inter-Parliamentary Group, and a member of the Canada-Taiwan Friendship group.

As Chair of the Conservative Wine Caucus, Ron works with his colleagues across the country to promote the wine regions of Canada.  Ron tabled Motion 218(formerly Motion 601) which supports direct to consumer purchasing of Canadian wine. His motion became Bill C-311, sponsored by MP Dan Albas, seconded by Ron, which was passed into law on June 28th, 2012.

Prior to entering politics, Ron developed a diverse business background as a small business owner and had several years experience in marketing and sales management working with corporations including Coca-Cola, Costco and Corus Entertainment.

Very active in his community, Ron has been a Director for both the Central Okanagan Regional District and the Central Okanagan Hospital Board. Ron also served on the Okanagan University College Access to Training Advisory Board, the Glenmore Elementary School Parents Advisory Council, and the Kelowna Christian School Fund Raising Committee. He was co-founder of the Okanagan Volunteer Festival. Currently Ron is a member of the Sunrise Rotary Club of Kelowna and, along with his wife Cindy, was the honorary Chair of the 2012 Canadian Cancer Society Daffodil Ball.

Ron lives a family-oriented and active lifestyle with his wife Cindy. He is the proud father of three daughters and grandfather to three grandsons. His hobbies include music and sports.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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