OTTAWA, Oct. 31, 2011 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National
Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo stated today that the AFN trade mission to
China has been an excellent opportunity to strengthen relationships and
explore partnership opportunities with the Chinese government and
"First Nations are pursuing economic development opportunities at home
and abroad," said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo today from Ottawa.
"Our trade mission to China has proven to be an effective way to
strengthen our relationship with one of the world's economic leaders.
In our many meetings, we received a clear signal from government
officials and the private sector of their willingness to work with
First Nations in ways that are respectful, responsible and sustainable-
an approach that is key to successful partnerships."
The week-long AFN China Trade Mission to Beijing, Dalian, Chengu,
Beichuan and Shanghai continued relationship building efforts and
helped spark new business opportunities. This included the grand
opening of the First Nation Grain Management Office in Dalian, a First
Nation-led company taking a strong lead by utilizing our unique
knowledge of the land to balance development needs and environmental
stewardship. First Nation community leaders also had a key meeting with
the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association.
The delegation, which included National Chief Atleo and First Nation
leaders from across Canada, met with governmental and private sector
China People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries
Zhongchuan Mining Group
Officials from the Chinese Government
Chinese National Committee for Pacific Economic Cooperation
Chinese Department of Commerce
Beidahuang Group (an agricultural, seafood, and forestry company)
Sichuan Metallurgical and Geological Bureau
Dalian International Economic and Technical Cooperation Group Ltd.
Dalian Shi Yu Garments Co. Ltd.
Beichuan Qiang Chief and Officials
Xian Road Construction Machinery Co.
"There is a great deal of trade potential between First Nations and
China," said AFN Yukon Regional Chief Eric Morris, who holds the
national portfolio for economic development and partnerships. "First
Nations can play a constructive role in helping China meet its vast
food and energy needs and providing finished products made in our
communities, all ways that are respectful of our rights, our lands and
our peoples. There is a definite opportunity and interest in
continuing our work together. We look forward to reporting back to
Chiefs and First Nation citizens on this mission and identifying other
potential partners for economic development."
The AFN China Trade mission also allowed groups to share in ceremony,
traditions and cultures.
"I would like to thank the people of China for the warm welcome to our
delegation. While our cultures and histories differ, we shared in
ceremonies with the Chinese that will connect us now into the future,"
said National Chief Atleo. "The totem pole raising ceremony, in the
city of Beichuan, will live with us as an example of spirit and courage
- something we have both learned is essential in achieving a common
goal or vision, and the need for community and unity to support one
another particularly in the face of immense challenge or tragedy."
In December 2010, the Chinese Ambassador attended the AFN Special Chiefs
Assembly in Gatineau, Quebec. A Chinese delegation took part in the
AFN's International Indigenous Summit on Energy and Mining, along with
more than 800 delegates, in Niagara Falls in June 2011. There will be
continued work with the Embassy of the Peoples Republic of China and
the Canadian Embassy on a potential AFN-China joint symposium on trade,
as well as ongoing work to identify and build partnerships.
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing
First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN and National Chief Atleo
on Twitter #afnchinatrademission, @AFN_Updates, @AFN_Comms and
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