Nova Scotia and the Chinese province of Shandong signed a twinning agreement today, Sept. 11, to increase trade and investment.
“Nova Scotia and Shandong have a long-standing relationship but this memorandum of understanding enhances it, particularly in the areas of trade and investment, research and education, and tourism,” said Premier Stephen McNeil.
Premier McNeil and Governor Guo Shuqing, of Shandong province, signed the agreement in Jinan, China. The new agreement builds on a friendship agreement Nova Scotia signed with Shandong 20 years ago.
The premier is on an 11-day mission to Asia which includes nine Chinese cities with stops in Seoul, South Korea and Tokyo. He is meeting with business, academic institution and government officials.
Shandong is a coastal province with a dynamic marine economy and a population of more than 98 million people. Its city of Qingdao is famous for seafood and its port is one of the 10 busiest in the world. Shandong also leads China in ocean aquaculture.
Recently, Shandong businesses met in Nova Scotia with representatives from the ocean technology and fisheries sectors to discuss partnerships and opportunities.
There are many existing relationships between Nova Scotia and Shandong academic institutions and researchers. Dalhousie University is a partner with Shandong University as well as with Oceans University, located in Qingdao.
Exports from Nova Scotia to China totalled $420 million in 2015, an increase of more than 50 per cent from 2014. China is Nova Scotia’s third largest seafood export market, accounting for $210 million of our $1.7 billion in fish and seafood exports.
“Shandong is well-aligned with Nova Scotia’s Chinese export priorities, namely seafood and agri-food, ocean technology, ocean tourism and energy,” said Premier McNeil.
This type of agreement between governments is an important step in building relationships and will help lead to increased opportunities for Nova Scotia businesses and institutions.
Nova Scotia is the only province in Canada with a formal engagement strategy with China. The agreement with Shandong province shows Nova Scotia is following through on the strategy, which includes direction to focus on Nova Scotia’s competitive strengths and build relationships with China.