By Jackie Guo
As a representative of the Greater Halifax Partnership I joined premiers, senior government officials and business leaders from ten provinces and territories on a Council of the Federation trade mission to China from September 10 -20.
Led by Premier Darrell Dexter, the mission focused on furthering Canada’s business relationship with China, with the Nova Scotia delegation specifically looking to strengthen ties in sectors such as energy, transportation and logistics and ocean technology.
Beijing (Sept. 13-15)
The delegation met with senior government leaders including Vice-Premier Wang Qishan and Commerce Minister Cheng Deming as well as senior leaders from the State Oceanic Administration. Through the meetings and dialogues, we learned that China has placed Canada as a strategic business partner and is looking for opportunities in energy, resources, education, environmental services, ocean technologies and high precision manufacturing among others.
During the Beijing stop, two Chinese companies signed agreements to work with Nova Scotian companies. Atlantic Canada Resources, a seafood exporting company, signed an agreement with Hope Group in Beijing to distribute seafood in China. Also, the University of Cape Breton signed an agreement with Synfuels to develop technology in delivering clean energy.
Shanghai (Sept. 17)
The Nova Scotia delegation focused on the ocean technology sector and the Halifax Gateway. The Port of Halifax and Halifax Stanfield International Airport held a joint reception in Shanghai to showcase Halifax's transportation and logistics assets and how Halifax can serve Chinese businesses and their supply chains in North America. Port of Halifax President & CEO Karen Oldfield and Vice President Jerry Staples delivered key messages to over 100 audiences including representatives from China Shipping, China Eastern Airlines, and many other Chinese businesses that are looking for opportunities in Atlantic Canada. Premier Darrell Dexter also gave a keynote speech about the provincial government's commitment to helping businesses succeed in Nova Scotia.
Hangzhou (Sept. 18)
The Nova Scotia delegation – which included representatives from Dalhousie University and Rosborough Boats - visited a second institute of oceanography, as well as the Zhejiang University Department of Ocean Science and Engineering in Hangzhou. These two organizations along with the Polar Research Institute are key ocean players in China. The meetings were constructive and both sides expressed interest in exploring areas of further collaboration.
Hong Kong (Sept. 19-20)
Hong Kong was the last leg of the mission. We visited the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKE) on September 19 where Premier Dexter rang the bell to start the trading day and then participated in an event with senior business leaders organized by the Hang Seng Bank.
The last day, we visited the Sai Wan War Cemetery where thousands of Canadian soldiers fought during World War II. The relationship between China and Canada is much deeper than tourism and education exchanges, and the fallen Canadian soldiers are remembered by both Chinese and Canadians.
This mission to China was by all accounts a success and has helped to further the relationship between our two countries.
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Jackie Guo is the Coordinator of International Student Connector Program at the Greater Halifax Partnership.