British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell, Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach and Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall will lead a joint trade mission to China and Japan to promote trade and commerce opportunities between Western Canada and Asia.
The joint mission is the first since the three provinces formally signed the New West Partnership on April 30, creating a seamless economic region of nine million people with a combined GDP of more than $550 billion. The trade mission will promote Western Canada's clean technology, natural resources and competitive investment climate in Shanghai, Beijing and Tokyo from May 14-22.
"The recent economic downturn has proven that we are stronger if we work together," said Premier Campbell. "The New West Partnership is not only an integral agreement to improve our economy domestically, but also creates new opportunities to market Western Canada on an international stage. We will market our region's incredible potential to our trading partners in Asia."
"The West is stronger than ever and we offer one of the most attractive business environments in the world," said Premier Stelmach. "Asia is a critical market and this mission will showcase the West's leadership on resource development, clean energy technologies and innovation."
"Saskatchewan is focused on establishing the West as Canada's economic powerhouse. Our first joint task is to take our message to the vast market opportunities that exist in Asia," said Premier Wall. "The West has the resources the world needs, we have the opportunities global investors want, and the New West Partnership is making it as easy as possible to access them."
The premiers will work to establish a permanent collaborative trade and investment presence in Asia and promote Western Canada's competitive advantage of having some of the lowest corporate income tax rates in the G7 with stable financial institutions.
The trade mission will market the region's substantial natural resources such as gold, copper, potash, wood, natural gas and metallurgical coal as well as Western Canada's geographical advantage as North America's Pacific Gateway with direct access by rail, air and highway to major North American markets.
Canada's three most western provinces combined for $19.8 billion in exports to Asia in 2009 - a 41 per cent increase from 2000. This included $6.6 billion in total exports to China and $5.8 billion to Japan in 2009.
The New West Partnership contains four components: a comprehensive economic agreement; an international co-operation agreement; an innovation agreement; and a procurement agreement.
The agreement can be found at: http://www.mediaroom.gov.bc.ca/DisplayEventDetails.aspx?eventId=492