February 26, 2016

Trade Minister Promoting Engagement with Asia to Senior Business Leaders

Minister Responsible for Trade Jeremy Harrison is promoting Saskatchewan’s strong trade ties with Asia and the province’s growing trade prospects with the region at a meeting today of influential Asian and Canadian business leaders.

Harrison joins his British Columbia and Alberta counterparts in a panel discussion on strategic provincial approaches to Asia at the inaugural meeting in Vancouver of the Asia Business Leaders Advisory Council.  The group has been set up by the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (APF Canada) to provide strategic policy advice on trade and investment to the foundation and through it to Canada’s government and business leaders.

“The theme of the meeting is ‘Raising our Game in Asia’ and clearly that’s something Saskatchewan has done in recent years,” Harrison said.  “Much of our economic success has come from the opportunities our exporters have pursued in Asia, and this ‘pivot’ to Asian markets will be critical to Saskatchewan’s – and Canada’s – continued economic growth.”

In 2014 Saskatchewan’s trade with Asia hit an all-time high, with $7 billion worth of exports.  Saskatchewan was the leading exporter among the provinces to India, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Malaysia.  From 2007 to 2014, value of our exports to China increased by 231 per cent, to India by 86 per cent, to Japan by 57 per cent, and to Indonesia by 108 per cent.

Harrison noted that the government continues to follow up on recommendations in the final report of the Saskatchewan-Asia Advisory Council.  The report was issued in September 2014.  It called for a tripling of exports to Asia by 2020, in addition to initiatives to promote investment by Asian companies in the province and to encourage more Saskatchewan students to study, live and work overseas.

“As a province of traders, Saskatchewan has a long-established presence in Asia and greater engagement with our key export markets is part of our Saskatchewan Plan for Growth,” Harrison said.  “I look forward to sharing our experiences – and our vision – with these leaders.”

APF Canada’s new Asia Business Leaders Advisory Council consists of about 28 senior executives, half from Canada and half from the Asia-Pacific region.  At their first meeting they will be sharing perspectives on Canada’s competitive strengths and challenges related to trade and investment in Asia, Canada’s current brand in the region, and ways to strengthen existing commercial networks.

Saskatchewan companies on the Asia Business Leaders Advisory Council include Cameco Corporation, AGT Food and Ingredients Inc. and Canpotex.