Harper Government Focused on Economy

As world leaders were meeting in France for the G-20 Summit, the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, was leading a trade mission to India and the Honourable Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources, was promoting Canada’s plentiful and world-class natural resources in China and Japan.

Minister Fast is on a week-long trade mission to India, where he is travelling to the cities of Delhi, Ahmedabad, Pune and Mumbai to pursue Canadian interests in a focused set of key sectors, including infrastructure, communications technology, manufacturing, agriculture and agri-food, energy and natural resources.

“With one in five jobs and over 60 percent of Canada’s economy generated by trade, our government’s focus is on creating jobs and opportunity for hard-working Canadian families,” said Minister Fast. “India’s growing economy is increasing its demand for products, services and expertise. A trade agreement with India could boost Canada’s economy by $6 billion annually, creating jobs and opportunity in every region of Canada.”

While meeting in Delhi, Minister Fast and India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Anand Sharma, announced an ambitious timetable for trade talks that aims to complete negotiations in 2013. The next round of talks—the third—will take place on December 13, 14 and 15, 2011, in India, with further rounds taking place at regular intervals thereafter.

In 2010, bilateral merchandise trade between Canada and India totalled $4.2 billion, an increase of 46.6 percent since 2005. In 2010, the stock of two-way direct investment was more than $7 billion.

Minister Oliver is on a multi-city visit to China and Japan, where he is promoting Canada’s world-class natural resources. Minister Oliver will visit Tianjin, Beijing, Shanghai and Tokyo. His visit follows a recent trade mission to China by Minister Fast and a small-business and tourism promotion visit by the Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism).

In China, Minister Oliver is attending the ministerial forum at the China Mining Congress & Expo, where he spoke at the opening ceremony hosted by China’s Minister of Land and Resources, Xu Shaoshi.

“As a global mining power, Canada can help China meets its growing economic needs while strengthening both of our economies—creating jobs and prosperity,” Minister Oliver told the audience of international business and financial executives and senior government officials from a number of countries.

Minister Oliver is delivering the message to foreign investors and officials that Canada is a safe, responsible and reliable supplier of energy and of mineral and metal resources. He also is conveying Canada’s strong interest in two-way trade and investment.

“China is Canada’s second-largest trading partner. We want to grow this trade relationship, especially in the natural resources sector, where Canadian exports to China reached $8 billion in 2010,” Minister Oliver said. “The attractiveness of Canada as a place to invest and do business is no accident. We’ve been working hard to make Canada number one in the world, and I’m very proud of our success.”

Bilateral merchandise trade between Canada and China reached $57.7 billion in 2010, while overall trade between the two countries more than tripled between 2001 and 2010.

“In what remain extremely challenging economic times globally, our government is focused on creating jobs and opportunity for hard-working Canadians in high-growth markets as well as with our traditional trading partners,” concluded Minister Fast. “Through our job-creating, low-tax, pro-trade plan, the economy remains our number one priority.”

At the G-20 Summit in Cannes, France, countries endorsed the Cannes Action Plan for Jobs and Growth. Led by Canada and co-chaired by India, the plan is a wide-ranging blueprint for building the foundations of renewed worldwide growth. Also in Cannes, Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney was appointed chairman of the Financial Stability Board. The Board was established in 2009 to strengthen financial systems and promote the stability of international financial markets.

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