Speech Article from  Global Affairs Canada

Address by Minister Champagne at the 33rd Chinese New Year Gala Organized by the Hong Kong-Canada Business Association

January 31, 2017– Montreal, Quebec

Check against delivery. This speech has been translated in accordance with the official languages policy and edited for posting and distribution in accordance with the Government of Canada’s communications policy.

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Sun Leen Fai Lok!

First of all, I would like to wish you all a very happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year of the Rooster!  

It’s a great honour for me to be here tonight on behalf of the Government of Canada and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for the 33rd Chinese New Year Gala organized by the Hong Kong Canada Business Association – Montreal.

Hong Kong has long provided a secure, stable and prosperous economic base for scores of Canadian businesses.

Hong Kong is an attractive market for Canada thanks to its open economy that plays a central role as a regional financing, trade, and investment hub.                                                                            

Today it is a critically important platform for Canadian businesses to access huge market opportunities in China and the wider Asia-Pacific region.

We see great potential for Canada to play a role in supporting the economic growth and modernization occurring across China and in many parts of the Asia-Pacific region – as well as the economic expansion taking place in Hong Kong itself. 

More than 180 Canadian companies have offices in Hong Kong, and many more are involved in partnerships or joint venture arrangements.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong is one of the largest Canadian Chambers abroad.

In 2015, bilateral merchandise trade with Hong Kong reached $4.2 billion.

Hong Kong was Canada's eighth-largest export market for goods in 2015, with $3.9 billion in merchandise exports. 

The Canada-Hong Kong Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) was signed on February 10, 2016 and entered into force on September 6, 2016.

This agreement sets the foundation for increased investment by giving investors the protection and predictability they need to operate with confidence.

This FIPA will help further promote bilateral investments between Canada and Hong Kong, and demonstrates Canada’s commitment to deepening economic ties with Asia.

Canadian foreign direct investment in Hong Kong reached $7.3 billion in 2015, making it Canada’s third most popular destination for investment in Asia.

Hong Kong is also an important source of foreign direct investment in Canada. Hong Kong's stock of foreign direct investment in Canada reached nearly $16.4 billion in 2015.

Attracting job-creating investment to Canada, and expanding Canada’s business ties with fast-growing Asian markets, are top priorities for me. I often refer to myself as having been appointed “Chief Marketing Officer”.

Canadians have interests in a wide variety of sectors, including financial services, sustainable technologies, professional services, agri-food, transport, education, and information and communication technologies.

But the relationship between Hong Kong and Canada, as well as between China and Canada, is rooted in deep people-to-people ties, in the families that have family members on each side of the Pacific Ocean, as well as the cultural ties. There is so much that we can draw on from each other, so much we can challenge ourselves with each other to grow and to improve.

Canada and Hong Kong share a Commonwealth heritage, with firm commitment to a number of shared values.

In addition, arts and cultural exchanges are a significant and powerful tool for advancing Canadian values and the friendship between the peoples of Canada and Hong Kong.

According to the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, nearly 300,000 Canadians live in Hong Kong, and there are some 500,000 people of Hong Kong descent in Canada.

In 2015, 142,000 visitors from Hong Kong visited Canada, making Hong Kong Canada's 11th -largest source of tourists. In the other direction, 358,000 Canadians visited Hong Kong in 2015.

It is important to reiterate that Canada strongly supports continued adherence to the "One Country, Two Systems" principle and the rule of law under the Hong Kong Basic Law. These elements are essential to the stability and prosperity of Hong Kong and to Canadian interests and values.

Our strong relations with Hong Kong are made even stronger by our strong relations with China, the world's second largest economy, and Canada's second-largest single-country trading partner.

Canada has made it a top priority to create a stronger, more stable long-term relationship with China, and we have accomplished much over the past year.

Two-way merchandise trade between Canada and China amounted to nearly $86 billion in 2015, and accounted for 8.1 percent of Canada’s total merchandise trade.

Canada’s two-way foreign direct investment relationship with China reached $33 billion at the end of 2015.

Our people-to-people ties run deep with China as well. Canadians of Chinese descent make up approximately 4.5 percent of Canada's population.

China is one of Canada’s top three sources of immigrants. Canada welcomed 19,500 permanent residents from China in 2015.

China is Canada’s largest source of foreign students. More than 118,000 Chinese students were in Canada in 2015.

China was also Canada’s third-largest source of tourists in 2015. That year, 483,000 Chinese tourists visited Canada while 480,000 Canadian tourists visited China.

But we can do more! As I noted in President Xi’s Speech at the World Economic Forum, in the coming five years, Chinese tourists will make 700 million overseas visits!

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called this “an era of greater co-operation and mutual benefit for both Canada and China in the coming years.”

To fulfill the potential of Canada-China relations, Prime Minister Trudeau travelled to China for his first official visit from August 30 to September 6, 2016, with stops in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou for the G20 Summit, and Hong Kong.

My colleague Chrystia Freeland visited China twice as Minister of International Trade in 2016 – in July for the G20 trade ministers’ meeting and in September for the G20 Summit.

The Prime Minister also met with the Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, Li Keqiang, during his first official visit to Canada September 21 to 24, 2016.

The two leaders held their first discussions under the new Annual Leaders’ Dialogue and focused on ways to create jobs, strengthen the middle class and those working hard to join it, and build economies that work for everyone.

During the meetings, strong steps were taken to expand the economic and financial relationship between our two countries. I will continue to push forward this important work.

The two leaders also agreed to launch exploratory discussions for a possible Canada-China Free Trade Agreement; expand market access for Canadian bone-in beef; and set a goal of doubling bilateral trade by 2025.

Given our people-our-people ties and the tremendous synergies between our economies, we see great potential for the role that Canada can play to support the growth and modernization of the Chinese economy.

We have the know-how, the expertise, the technologies and the businesses to do that.                                                                             

Canada has 15 trade offices with more than 100 trade commissioners in China, making it one of our largest networks of trade offices abroad.

There are countless opportunities for Canadian businesses to help China meet its growing needs in sectors such as infrastructure, renewable energy, aerospace, services, and agriculture.

There are also great opportunities in Canada for Chinese companies with our government's focus on fostering green technologies and renewables, Canada's business-friendly environment, and our diverse and highly educated and skilled workforce. 

Our strong relationship with Hong Kong and China is situated within our broader aim to deepen our presence and ties with the broader Asia-Pacific region.

Asia is a critical region of the world and we know it! We are an Asia-Pacific country.
The global centre of political economic power is shifting towards the Pacific – Asia’s share of global GDP now exceeds that of the EU and the US, and it contributes more than 50 percent of global growth.

Asia is home to 60 percent of the global population, increasingly affluent and mobile, and Canada recognises the opportunities this offers in terms of trade, education and tourism.

Today, China and the Asia-Pacific more broadly represent an important platform for Canadian companies.

Four of Canada’s top five trading partners, including China, are APEC members.

Increasing trade and investment with our partners in the region is essential if we are to create long-term growth and an economy that works for the middle class.                                                                        

Our trade relationships in Asia are critical, and we will work very hard to develop our common prosperity through trade.

I can assure you that Hong Kong and China have a new friend in this new Trade Minister!

Xié xié dajia!


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