Prime Minister Stephen Harper today highlighted the strong actions the Government is taking to engage the Asia-Pacific region, generating jobs and growth in Canada.
“In the past few years, our Government has been aggressively expanding commercial relations with the Asia-Pacific region to create jobs and economic benefits here at home,” said the Prime Minister. “Our efforts are yielding results. We are maximizing opportunities for our entrepreneurs through innovative trade, investment, air, and science and technology agreements. We are also attracting regional investment to Canada by ensuring a speedier transport of goods through a much strengthened Asia-Pacific Gateway.”
Since 2006, the Government has implemented a free trade agreement (FTA) with Peru and is negotiating Foreign Investment and Protection Agreements (FIPAs) with China, Indonesia and Vietnam. Our Government has also signed six air agreements with members of the Asia-Pacific region. These efforts, along with additional trade offices in a number of countries, are generating real results. For instance, Canada’s trade with Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies grew from $374.6 billion in 1994 to $654.4 billion in 2010, an average annual growth rate of 3.5 per cent.
In addition to increasing and expanding trade opportunities in the region, the government has invested over $1.4 billion in the Asia-Pacific Gateway to improve and expand our ports and infrastructure, establishing Canada as the best transportation network between North America and booming Asian economies. Examples include the construction of the four-lane South Fraser Perimeter Road along the Fraser River, a new urban highway crossing the South Saskatchewan River and substantial road and rail improvements in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia (the Robert Bank Rail Corridor).
These investments are already paying off: generating new business opportunities, improving the flow of traffic, enhancing the efficiency of the transportation system, attracting investments, and contributing to Canada’s global competitiveness.
Canada also recently approved the issuance of a 20-year licence to export liquefied natural gas from Kitimat, British Columbia to the Asia-Pacific region. This initiative will allow Canada to diversity its energy exports to growing markets in the Asia-Pacific region, further strengthening its trading partnerships with Asian economies.