Minister Fast concludes "westward march" Asia-Pacific Gateway consultations

From Manitoba to British Columbia, Canada's competitive advantages through the Gateway are deepening Canada's ties throughout the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region, Minister says

OTTAWA, July 20, 2012 /CNW/ - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today successfully concluded two weeks of consultations held throughout Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia on Canada's Asia-Pacific Gateway and the Government of Canada's active and ongoing engagement in the Asia-Pacific region.

During roundtables, site visits and bilateral meetings in Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Delta, Vancouver, Nanaimo, Port Alberni, and Prince Rupert, Minister Fast met with his provincial and municipal counterparts, leading stakeholders, and key transportation and industry leaders to discuss ways to build on Canada's competitive advantages and further deepen trade and investment ties throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

"Our government's top priority has been, and continues to be, the economy and the creation of jobs, economic growth and long term prosperity for Canadians," said Minister Fast.  "We believe that expanding and diversifying our trade relationships around the world is one of the best ways to achieve these goals. That is why I am consulting widely on how we can continue to support Canadian businesses, and help ensure the opportunities that exist throughout the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region are maximized."

Over the past two weeks, Minister Fast has visited sites across Western Canada to see first-hand how efforts to deepen Canada's trade and investment ties in the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region are being facilitated by the strategic investments and partnerships that have built the Asia-Pacific Gateway, including visits to:

  • MacDon and Centreport in Winnipeg;
  • Global Transportation Hub, Brandt Industries Ltd. and Alliance Grain Traders and its Saskcan Pulse Trading main plant in Regina;
  • Cory PotashCorp Mine, Crestline Coach Ltd. and Cameco in Saskatoon;
  • Fairview and Ridley Port Terminals in Prince Rupert;
  • the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (Japan Branch);
  • Canadian Pacific's Rail Pitt Meadows intermodal facility in Delta;
  • a direct boat-to-rail operation at Southern Railway of British Columbia's barge docking berth in Delta;
  • Port Metro Vancouver's harbour and Westport Innovations Inc. in Vancouver;
  • Port of Nanaimo; and
  • Port of Alberni.

Minister Fast concluded his Western Canada Asia-Pacific Gateway consultations by signing a contribution agreement that delivers on the Harper government's commitment to the Ridley Island Road, Rail and Utility Corridor project in Prince Rupert which will help expand capacity and operations at the Port of Prince Rupert, key to efforts to further deepen trade and investment ties in high-growth Asian markets.

"With one in five Canadian jobs generated by trade, our government understands that trade is vital to Canada's past, present and future prosperity.  That is why we are pursuing the most ambitious trade expansion plan in Canada's history with the largest, most dynamic and fastest-growing economies in the world," said Minister Fast.  "In what remain globally challenging economic times, our government will continue to deepen Canada's trading relationships and continue to build on the competitive advantages that have made our country the gateway of choice between Asia and North America.  These consultations are an important part of ensuring the strategic investments and partnerships we've made to date continue to benefit workers and businesses."

Since 2006, the Harper government has invested $1.4 billion into Asia-Pacific Gateway infrastructure projects, an amount that has been leveraged to almost $4 billion with the participation of provincial and municipal governments and the private sector.  A total of almost 50 projects have been supported, creating jobs and economic growth in local communities, while easing the movement of goods, services and people to and from the fast-growing Asia-Pacific economies.

Canada's West Coast ports are more than two days closer to Asian markets than any other port in North America.  As a result of these strategic investments and partnerships, Canadian exports to the Asia-Pacific region have reached record levels.  For example, in 2011 alone, Canadian exports to China increased an impressive 27 per cent.

For more information on the Government of Canada's Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative, or to view photos from the Minister's Western Canada consultations, please visit our website:

SOURCE Transport Canada

For further information:

Rudy Husny
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Ed Fast
Minister of International Trade and
Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

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