Canada's Atlantic Gateway Business Mission to India

    Op-ed by the Hon. Peter MacKay

    HALIFAX, Feb. 15 /CNW/ -

    Canada's Atlantic Gateway Business Mission to India
    Op-ed by the Hon. Peter MacKay

    India, with over a billion people, is the world's largest democracy, and
is fast becoming one of the world's largest economies. That spells opportunity
and it's an economic opportunity Atlantic Canada is well positioned to grasp.
    In the next few days, I will lead a business mission to India. I will be
joined by Ministers from the four Atlantic provincial governments and senior
private sector transportation executives from across the region.
    We will be meeting with as many Indian shippers, business leaders and
government officials as we can. We will be showing them how they can benefit
their bottom line by shipping goods to the lucrative North American market
using Atlantic Canada as a cost-effective, dependable access point.
    We need to be aggressive in seizing this opportunity. With its educated
workforce, growing consumer base, savvy entrepreneurs, and huge potential for
industrial development, India is being courted by many Western countries that
recognize its economic potential.
    We have an advantage going in. Canada has long recognized India as a key
trading partner. In 2006, we recorded a record $3.6 billion in trade between
our two countries. And Canada is home to nearly a million individuals of
Indian origin, making our ties to the Indian sub-continent deeper and stronger
than economics alone.
    Indian businesses are looking for fast, reliable ways to ship their goods
to North American markets, and there is no more efficient route than via the
Atlantic Gateway. With year-round ice-free ports that can handle the largest
ships in the world, a competitive transportation system and the most efficient
route between the Suez Canal and the US, our region is uniquely positioned to
capitalize on that business imperative.
    Research on the Gateway shows it has the potential to generate more than
61,000 new jobs and $3.4 billion in new GDP for our region. This represents a
significant opportunity for the Atlantic economy. That is why our Government
signed a memorandum of understanding with the four Atlantic provincial
governments to work together to further develop the Atlantic Gateway.
    This business mission to India is an essential milestone in that process.
We will be working as a team, putting Atlantic Canada on the map with key
Indian decision-makers and proving to them that Atlantic Canada is a strategic
entry point of choice to the North American market. It is an important step in
deepening a bilateral relationship that has the potential to bring significant
benefits in trade and investment for Atlantic Canada.

    The Honourable Peter G. MacKay
    Minister of National Defence and
    Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

For further information:

For further information: Alex Smith, Director of Communications, ACOA
Nova Scotia, Cell: (902) 830-3839

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