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Under Canada’s Global Markets Action Plan (GMAP), the government’s pro-export, pro-jobs plan, new markets around the world have been opened for British Columbia exports. These historic trade achievements will benefit hard-working Canadians in B.C. and throughout Canada.
In just one year, the government has delivered on its GMAP commitment to eliminate tariffs and support Canadian companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and to boost exports, including through:
- the conclusion of negotiations and release of the complete text of the historic Canada-European Union trade agreement. The agreement will eliminate tariffs on virtually all of British Columbia’s exports. On the first day of the agreement’s coming into force, 96 percent of tariffs on fish and seafood products and 99 percent of tariffs on manufactured products will be duty-free, making B.C.’s world-class goods more competitive and creating the conditions needed to increase sales to the EU market and its 500 million consumers.
- the conclusion of Canada’s first free trade agreement in Asia with the landmark Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement (CKFTA), which is on track to come into force on January 1, 2015. British Columbia will see tremendous opportunities for export growth, given the complete elimination of South Korean duties on many Canadian products. For example, key products of interest to British Columbia that will become duty-free upon full implementation of the CKFTA include wine, fresh blueberries and cherries, and Pacific salmon. British Columbia and the Port of Vancouver, as Canada’s gateway to Asia, are well positioned to benefit from increased export opportunities to South Korea.
The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, provided an overview of the government’s vigorous trade promotion efforts, noting that historic trade agreements require historic trade promotion. Under GMAP, the Harper government is supporting workers and businesses across British Columbia and ensuring that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have all the necessary tools to seize new opportunities and realize their full export potential.
Key elements of the trade promotion efforts include:
Go Global Export Workshops
Over the next several months, Minister Fast is holding workshops across Canada in collaboration with Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters and all the Government of Canada’s export support agencies. Under GMAP, the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, Export Development Canada, the Business Development Bank of Canada and the Canadian Commercial Corporation have been aligning their activities, facilitating referrals, sharing market intelligence and information, and providing a whole-of-government approach to boost SME exports. Minister Fast held a workshop in Richmond, British Columbia, last November, and others are planned across B.C. in 2015.
Regional Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) Activities
In 2014, the TCS’s Pacific Regional Office, based in Vancouver, assisted 600 SMEs, providing them with on-the-ground international business support, including 1,142 targeted services, and connecting them to markets of interest.
Trade commissioners have been embedded with public and private sector partners across Canada, including in British Columbia with Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters – British Columbia, the BC Technology Industry Association and BC Wood, so they can work closely with British Columbia businesses to ensure the Government of Canada is responsive to their needs.
Export Development Canada (EDC)
EDC helped 605 British Columbia companies finance or insure $7.15-billion worth of international sales and investments. For example, EDC provided the financing for MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. to build a satellite for a Spanish client, and EDC helped Love Child Organics expand its exports with the financing required to boost production and meet the demand by U.S. distributors Walmart and Ahold.
EDC predicts B.C.’s overall export growth to be 10 percent in 2014 and 8 percent in 2015, making it one of Canada’s top performers. The metal land ores sector is expected to hit 13-percent growth in 2014 and is forecast at 3-percent growth for 2015. Agriculture and food exports are also seeing a large increase, driving the sector to 11-percent growth in 2014.
Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC)
In 2013-14, CCC worked with 20 B.C. companies on export opportunities abroad, including Viking Air Ltd. of Sidney, Cascade Aerospace Inc. of Abbotsford and Marine Canada Acquisition Inc. of Richmond.
Attracting Job-Creating Investments in British Columbia
The Government of Canada’s proactive foreign direct investment (FDI) attraction strategy targets industry sectors where Canada offers clear comparative advantages. In the 2013-14 fiscal year, the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service worked with provincial, territorial and municipal investment partners to facilitate 146 successful FDI projects worth $3.65 billion and create an estimated 5,543 new jobs within Canada.
Significant investments were made in British Columbia in 2014. For example, Industrial Light and Magic – Lucasfilm opened a new facility in Vancouver that is expected to create close to 200 new jobs, mostly in film production and visual effects.
Through the Invest Canada – Community Initiatives program, the Government of Canada provided a total of $298,350 to 14 British Columbia communities or community organizations: Campbell River Economic Development Corporation, Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission, Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation, City of Cranbrook, Community Futures Central Kootenay, Comox Valley Economic Development Society, District of Logan Lake, Greater Victoria Development Agency, Initiatives Prince George Economic Development Corporation, Quesnel Community and Economic Development Corporation, Vancouver Economic Commission, Venture Kamloops Business Development Society, Village of Kaslo and WestShore Chamber of Commerce.
Opening Markets and Supporting British Columbia Businesses Abroad
In 2014, Minister Fast led 13 trade missions to 20 countries, including China, where he was joined by representatives of 15 B.C. companies: ACDEG Group, Delta Hotels and Resorts, CENTUM Monest Mortgage Inc., Dawa Business Group Inc., Eldorado Gold Corporation, Island Timberlands Limited Partnership, LJ Resources Co. Ltd., Lulu Island Winery Ltd., MMM Group (Vancouver office), New Asia Capital Consultants Inc., TimberWest, Viking Air Ltd., West Coast Reduction Ltd., Westport Innovations and WPIC Marketing Inc.
Minister Fast also led the Canadian delegation at the Seafood Expo Global 2014 in Brussels, Belgium, to promote fish and seafood exports. He was joined by representatives of 16 B.C. companies: Aqualine Seafoods Ltd., BC Salmon Marketing Council, Best Honour Seafood, Calkins & Burke Ltd., Canadian Fishing Company (Canfisco), Canadian Highly Migratory Species Foundation, Fisher Bay Seafood Ltd., Flying Fresh Air Freight, Grand Hale Marine Products Company Ltd., Sung Fish Company, Underwater Harvesters Association, North Delta Seafoods, Select Seafoods Canada Ltd., Ucluelet Harbour Seafoods Ltd., Viking Seafoods Ltd. and Worldwide Seafoods (1997) Ltd.
Minister Fast and Wai Young, Member of Parliament for Vancouver South, welcomed a deal between British Columbia-based Cantronic Systems Inc., a world leader in infrared thermal imaging and night vision systems, and Tongfang Shenzhen Cloudcomputing Technology Co., Ltd., of China. Under the agreement, Tongfang will outsource its product design and manufacturing services to Cantronic Systems. Sales revenues from the agreement are expected to reach $53 million in the next three years.
British Columbia-based Kryton International Inc. signed an agreement with Beijing Maple Real Estate Company, Ltd. to use Kryton’s waterproof concrete technology and products in Maple Real Estate’s Vancouver Forest project in Beijing. This deal is potentially worth more than $5 million over seven years.
Innovative companies from British Columbia can also count on the support of the Canadian Technology Accelerator (CTA) program. Forty-eight companies from British Columbia participated in CTA programs in 2014. For example, INETCO Systems Limited participated in the first CTA program in the United Kingdom, 1to1Real participated in a CTA in Silicon Valley and Sheng Li Digital attended a CTA in New York City. The Government of British Columbia is contributing to the federal program in support of B.C. businesses.
Minister Fast encouraged British Columbia-based businesses to take advantage of the Enterprise Canada Network. Provided in partnership with EDC and Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, this network provides online access to more than 30,000 business profiles and information on opportunities in the European market.
Under GMAP, the Harper government committed to developing comprehensive strategies in key sectors. One of these, the International Education Strategy, was released in January 2014, with the goal of attracting innovative researchers and students to Canada and entrenching ties between Canadian educational institutions and their global counterparts. According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, in 2013 there were almost 73,000 international students studying in British Columbia, delivering economic and social benefits to the province.
Minister Fast invited businesses in British Columbia to accompany him on his first trade mission of 2015. This trade mission to South Korea, which will take place from February 8 to 13, will enable businesses to take full advantage of the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement and benefit from on-the-ground support from the Government of Canada.
“This year, 2014, has been the most successful year for international trade in Canadian history, benefiting hard-working Canadians in British Columbia and in every region of the country. Under Canada’s Global Markets Action Plan, we will continue our vigorous trade promotion efforts to boost our exports.
“In 2015, we will continue to focus on the real priorities of hard-working Canadians: creating new jobs and prosperity.”
– Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade
Quotes from British Columbia Stakeholders
“Ballard Power Systems is very pleased to have the ongoing support of the consulate and Trade Commissioner Service in the region. The Trade Commissioner Service has been key in making introductions to local partners at the most senior levels, advising on go-to-market strategies and ensuring that Ballard is well represented at various industry events.”
– Karim Kassam, Vice President, Business and Corporate Development, Ballard Power Systems Inc.
“The recent trade mission to South Africa led by Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, was very beneficial to Platinum Group Metals Ltd. Minister Fast’s visit demonstrated that Canada is committed to stronger relations with South Africa. Visits by senior government officials are crucial to opening and developing markets for Canada. Our investments in South Africa are aligned with this message. We are a proud Canadian example of the commercial and developmental benefits of investing in South Africa.”
– R. Michael Jones, President, CEO and Director, Platinum Group Metals Ltd.
“Unquestionably, the Canadian trade mission to South Africa and Tanzania—and the participation of Minister Fast—has shortened the time between initial introduction to the African business community and concrete business opportunities for Midgard Consulting.
“Participating in the Canadian trade mission is an extremely cost-effective and time-efficient way for a company like Midgard to learn about the opportunities that may exist for us in eastern and southern Africa, and to make initial contacts with potential partners that will be critical to our long-term success in the region.
“This is Midgard’s second trade mission—not coincidentally. The trade mission—especially given the presence of Minister Fast—has the efficacy of three to five self-organized business trips.”
– Michael Walsh, Principal and International Managing Partner, Midgard Consulting Inc.
“For our first official trip to India to explore export opportunities, we were very fortunate to have been able to join Minister Fast’s trade mission. Through the various meetings held in Mumbai and Delhi, we have been able to gain a better understanding of the trading landscape, challenges and opportunities for partnerships throughout India. The trade commission staff made our meetings extremely productive and have assured us that their support will be ongoing long after we return to Canada. We know that starting to export to India will not happen overnight, but we are confident that with the government’s support and its strong relationships in the market in India, we have a strong chance of doing business here in the coming years.”
– Mike Reed, President, BC Hot House Foods Inc.
“As Canada’s leading international bank at the forefront of introducing Canadian businesses to the world’s markets, we were delighted to be part of Canada’s latest trade mission to India. The case for Canadian trade and investment in South Asia has never been stronger, and Canadian companies are looking to expand their reach to countries like India, seeking higher-growth opportunities and reducing exposure stemming from over-reliance on Western markets. In fact, HSBC’s The World in 2050 report forecasts that India will be the third-largest economy in the world by 2050.”
– Ananth Krishnan, Head of Business Development – Western Canada, Global Trade & Receivables Finance, HSBC Bank Canada
“The regulatory agencies responsible for environment, mining, and oil and gas in both Colombia and Peru expressed considerable and detailed interest in the inter-agency coordination and local stakeholder consultation mechanisms that are fundamental to the resource exploration and development-permitting systems that Pacific GeoTech Systems designs and develops for such agencies in Canada and internationally. The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service has been key to our successful engagement with these agencies, and we expect they will be important enablers when we seek to realize these opportunities in the coming months.”
– Barry McPeake, Director of Business Development, Pacific GeoTech Systems
Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)
“The deal represents a trading milestone for Canada that slashes barriers and opens markets for B.C. products.
– John Winter, President and CEO, BC Chamber of Commerce
“While we have exported canned salmon to Europe for more than 100 years, high tariffs, often more than 20 percent, have made it very difficult to increase exports to this lucrative market. Trade means jobs. It helps maintain Canadians’ standard of living. This agreement means new market opportunities for fishermen and processors up and down the coast.”
– Christina Burridge, Executive Director, BC Seafood Alliance
“A comprehensive Canada-Europe trade agreement that reduces tariffs over time will not only help stimulate demand for our products, but it will also allow Canadian businesses to realize more money for their products.”
– Chris Sporer, Executive Director, Seafood Producers Association of British Columbia
“Grand Hale Marine is a relative newcomer to the seafood sector in British Columbia but has been able to develop new markets with new products that are exported to the European Union. It has been a struggle to export some of our products to the European Union due to trade quotas, high tariffs or both. Our products are recognized in the market as safe, quality products and [as] Canadian. A trade agreement with the European Union will directly benefit all Canadian fish and seafood producers, including Grand Hale Marine Products, by lowering and eliminating tariffs and quota barriers. To cement a trade deal before many of our competitor countries do so will give Canadians a competitive advantage. It will also help to secure and strengthen trade and business relationships before those competitors gain similar trade agreements with the EU. We support the government’s efforts to help us expand into large and important markets for the fish and seafood industry.”
– John Nishidate, General Manager, Grand Hale Marine Products Company Ltd.
“Like most other B.C. seafood products, a large portion of the halibut commercially harvested in British Columbia is exported. The more our industry has open access to important world seafood markets, the better it is for fishermen, the communities where we live and for Canada too. Commercial halibut fishermen fully support the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement.”
– Lyle Pierce, President and Director, Pacific Halibut Management Association
“A trade agreement with the EU will provide an excellent opportunity for many sectors of the B.C. economy—such as wood and wood products, agriculture and fish and seafood—to enjoy reduced tariff barriers and expand existing trading relationships. British Columbians will experience increased employment opportunities, and our industries will benefit from a more diversified market for their products.”
– Bob Wilds, Executive Director, BC Wharf Operators Association
“BC Blueberries, the largest producer of Canadian highbush blueberries, is pleased to see the extensive efforts that have been made by the Honourable Ed Fast and the Canadian government to open new markets in Europe. The Canada-EU trade agreement will expand Canadian blueberries’ capacity and competitive situation in the European Union, which is Canada’s second-largest trading partner of goods and services.”
– Debbie Etsell, Executive Director, British Columbia Blueberry Council
“A trade agreement with the EU will further diversify markets and strengthen relationships for coastal B.C.’s forest industry. Market diversity and strong global relationships promote business stability, which means secure jobs and reliable economic contributions from the forest sector.”
– Bruce St. John, Vice President, Lumber Sales and Marketing, Western Forest Products Inc.
“I commend the government’s efforts to conclude a trade agreement between Canada and the European Union that aims to eliminate tariffs on wood products and simplify market access requirements for Canadian exporters. Such an agreement will greatly strengthen the position of the Canadian forest industry.”
– Paul Newman, President, Canada Wood Group
“The Independent Wood Processors Association fully supports the removal of tariffs and taxes on the export of our manufactured products. It’s good to see Minister Fast actively trying to break down these trade barriers in the EU and elsewhere around the world.”
– Russ Cameron, President, Independent Wood Processors Association of British Columbia
“A Canada-EU trade agreement helps provide an opportunity to grow our business of selling world-class forest products to Europe and create new sources of jobs and prosperity within our industry.”
– Richard J. Slaco, Vice President and Chief Forester, Interfor
Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement
“Port Metro Vancouver is very pleased with the conclusion of a free trade agreement between Canada and South Korea. This is an important step forward in the growing trade relationship between our two countries. South Korea is the port of Vancouver’s third-largest trading partner in Asia, with trade involving more than 200,000 containers per year and including commodities such as grain from the Prairies and natural resources from British Columbia. This trade liberalization agreement will further increase the $10 billion in annual two-way trade between Canada and South Korea, creating jobs and driving economic growth across Canada.”
– Robin Silvester, President and CEO, Port Metro Vancouver
“The Business Council of British Columbia has strongly supported the development of a bilateral trade agreement with South Korea. We believe an agreement will enable more B.C. companies to sell into and do business with South Korea, which is both a large market and one of the most prosperous countries in Asia. Among the sectors expected to benefit from a Canada-Korea FTA are wood products, agri-food, advanced technology, mining and post-secondary education.”
– Jock Finlayson, Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer, Business Council of British Columbia
“A Canada-South Korea free trade agreement is a coup for almost every industry and region in British Columbia. Whether it’s northeastern B.C.’s natural gas industry, the interior and coastal forest industries, the coast and islands’ fish and seafood exporters, the Okanagan and Fraser valleys’ agriculture and agri-food operations or the Lower Mainland’s IT and professional services providers, a multitude of B.C. businesses stand to gain from this agreement. Reducing tariff and non-tariff barriers with South Korea will give our businesses a critical competitive edge in accessing this strong emerging market. A South Korean trade deal also secures Canada a much-needed foothold in the fast-growing Asia-Pacific market. The BC Chamber of Commerce applauds the federal government for getting this deal done.”
– John Winter, President and CEO, BC Chamber of Commerce
“A Canada-Korea free trade agreement will be good for Canada’s Pacific wild seafood industry. The U.S.-Korea free trade arrangement, which came into effect in 2012, is eagerly being seized on by our Alaskan competitors, and we cannot afford to be left behind. We know there are benefits to a free trade agreement with South Korea because our Alaskan competitors are already enjoying them. Reducing tariffs on seafood will open up the South Korean market to high-quality Canadian Pacific seafood, and this will translate into jobs and prosperity for British Columbians.”
– Christopher Sporer, Executive Director, Seafood Producers Association of British Columbia
“The British Columbia wine industry is excited about the potential for expansion in the key South Korean market. With the growth of B.C. grape acreage and our harvest levels back to normal, we will be looking to new markets to promote our quality B.C. VQA wines around the world. A successful FTA with South Korea would certainly create new opportunities for the wines of British Columbia.”
– Miles Prodan, President and CEO, British Columbia Wine Institute
“South Korea has been an important and lucrative market for Canadian beef, and we anticipate that this free trade agreement will restore our place in the South Korean market. It will not only increase our exports but, more importantly, will add value to every animal we raise and process in Canada.”
– Kevin Boon, General Manager, British Columbia Cattlemen’s Association
“The new Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement will level the playing field for Canadian forest products and value-added wood products companies, allowing them increased opportunities for market expansion and growth. We look forward to the mutual benefits that both Canada and South Korea will enjoy as a direct result of the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement in the years to come.”
– Rick Jeffery, President and CEO, Coast Forest Products Association
Canadian Technology Accelerator (CTA) Program
“Our participation in the CTA has helped us land our largest and highest-profile client yet in Cirque du Soleil. The feedback and mentorship we received helped refine how we describe our business to be more clear and concise and clearly demonstrate our value proposition.”
– Chris Breikss, President, Sheng Li Digital