Left to right: Mason Du, founder of Benbria Corporation; International Trade Minister Fast; Kassondra O. Dyebo, founder and CEO of BFB Fashion Group Inc.; David Kedmey, President and co-founder of EidoSearch; and the Consul General of Canada in New York, John Prato.
Minister Fast Visits New York’s General Assembly and Meets with Canadian Technology Accelerator Companies
Minister of International Trade Ed Fast, as part of his successful visits to Washington, DC, and New York City this month, paid a visit to General Assembly, a Manhattan campus for design, innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship, where six promising Canadian digital media start-ups are spending up to three months on campus as part of a new Canadian Technology Accelerator initiative.
The program – called the Canadian Technology Accelerator (CTA) initiative – was recently launched by the Consulate General of Canada in New York and is run by the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service. It is modeled on the hugely successful CTA initiatives in California’s Silicon Valley and will give Canadian companies an innovative platform from which to access New York’s dynamic start-up technology market and potential investment opportunities.
“Under this program, which is designed to assist innovative and world-leading Canadian entrepreneurs expand in a dynamic and cutting-edge industry, our government is helping some of Canada’s most promising digital media companies succeed in world markets,” Minister Fast said last month, when the program launched. “Large and dynamic markets like New York City can help expose these entrepreneurs and start-ups to investors, like-minded innovators, and other key contacts that can help Canadian companies accelerate their access to new markets and create new high-value jobs.”
The six Canadian start-ups participating in the initiative (see sidebar) were chosen from among Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service clients based on their high potential for growth and their prospects for success in the New York City market. During their three-month participation, the companies will focus on strengthening their venture capital and angel networks, landing marquee clients and partnerships, and exploring expansion of their business-development teams in the New York City area. They will be followed by another group of promising Canadian companies that have real potential to create tomorrow’s innovations. Recruitment for the second group will begin in March 2012, and their CTA placement is expected to start at the end of May.
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Minister Fast Addresses FT Global Investment Conference in Washington, DC
Minister of International Trade Ed Fast, as part of his successful visits to Washington, DC, and New York City this month, met with US business leaders and investors to promote Canada’s strong economic fundamentals and business strengths, as well as to highlight the enviable competitive advantages and prosperity created by the Canada-US supply chains. Among the many events on the Minister’s itinerary was a Washington global investment session, part of the FT Global Investment Series, called “Focus on Canada.”
“With one in 10 Canadian jobs linked to foreign investment, our government understands that attracting new investment creates jobs and prosperity for Canadian businesses, workers, and their families,” said Minister Fast. “With our low taxes, strong, stable economy, generous research and development incentives, educated workforce, and outstanding quality of life, Canada continues to be a great business partner for US entrepreneurs and investors. Job-creating investments and strategic partnerships will help Canadian and US businesses continue to succeed on both sides of our border.”
The conference was the last in a series of investment conferences organized in partnership with the Financial Times that have taken place across the US. In Los Angeles, Dallas, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Miami, and Washington, potential investors and business leaders have met to discuss promising investment opportunities in growing sectors of the Canadian economy.
At the Washington conference, Minister Fast took the opportunity to highlight recent investments in Canada by US businesses. This includes a multi-million dollar investment by Pioneer Hi-Bred to serve its growing business through the construction of a new seed production facility in Wingham, Ontario, and at its seven research facilities across Canada. Pioneer Hi-Bred is a wholly owned subsidiary of global science company DuPont. In addition, the Minister highlighted Ellison Surface Technologies’ recent expansion into Bromont, Quebec.
“As a leading provider of thermal spray coatings and supporting services for aircraft engines, Ellison is pleased to have reached an agreement with GE Aviation to become its partner in Canada, which represents our first investment outside of the United States,” said C. Michael Ellison, President and CEO of Cincinnati-based Ellison Surface Technologies. “With a dynamic economy and qualified workforce, Canada is a significant part of our long-term strategic initiatives. We look forward to being part of Canada’s growing and vibrant aerospace sector, which is currently ranked fifth in the world.”
“The Canada-US partnership is the world’s greatest free trade success story,” said Minister Fast. “Our fully integrated supply chains help create and sustain an estimated eight million jobs in the United States. The strategic advantages of this integration fuel jobs and prosperity on both sides of our border every day, and it is crucial that any future trade negotiations preserve the competitive advantages created by these supply chains.”
Of 134 countries, Forbes magazine ranked Canada as the best place to do business. US direct investment into Canada topped $296.7 billion in 2010. Northern and eastern states in particular rely on Canada for up to 50 percent of their total trade, and Canada accounts for more than 900,000 jobs in California and 600,000 jobs in Texas. Currently, 35 US states count Canada as their top export destination.
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Canadian Government Announces Economic Action Plan 2012 will be Tabled on March 29
Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty will present Economic Action Plan 2012 on March 29 in Canada’s House of Commons at approximately 4 p.m. EDT, it was announced this month.
“In an uncertain global economy our Government will stick with our low-tax plan for jobs and growth – a plan that has worked and is continuing to serve Canadians well,” said Minister Flaherty.
“Economic Action Plan 2012 will continue to focus on making Canada’s economy stronger for today and over the long-term, with prudent growth initiatives and responsible spending of taxpayers’ dollars,” the Minister added. “The Government will continue to work on improving the well-being of Canadians by securing the recovery, eliminating the deficit, and investing in the key drivers of long-term economic growth.”
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G20 Finance Ministers Meet in Mexico to Discuss Path Forward
Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty met with his Group of Twenty (G20) colleagues last month in Mexico City to take stock of progress being made on their shared commitment to strong, sustainable and balanced global growth. This was the first meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors under Mexico’s chairmanship of the G20.
“Greater coordination by all G20 economies continues to be important,” said Minister Flaherty. “G20 countries must act swiftly on their commitments to address short-term vulnerabilities and strengthen medium-term foundations for growth, as Canada is already doing with our low-tax plan for jobs and growth.”
Canada is on track to meet its G20 commitments, including its plan to return to fiscal balance while not raising taxes on Canadian families or businesses.
At the Mexico City meeting, Ministers and Governors discussed the implementation of the action plan agreed to by G20 Leaders in Cannes last fall, a plan that includes commitments to meet fiscal consolidation targets and to move more rapidly toward market-determined exchange rates. In addition, they discussed progress on a wide range of financial sector reforms.
The sovereign debt crisis in Europe was also be a key topic, with the G20 continuing to encourage European policymakers to take the necessary actions to resolve the crisis.
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Federal, Provincial, and Territorial Governments Focus on Trade Agreement with Europe
Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway Ed Fast, along with his provincial and territorial counterparts responsible for international trade, issued a joint statement last month following their annual meeting in Ottawa.
“Today, we met to discuss Canada’s international trade agenda and to exchange ideas on providing Canadian businesses and workers with the best possible access to lucrative markets around the world,” the statement said.
At the meeting, the Ministers endorsed the need for trade diversification efforts to focus on high-growth international markets such as China and India and agreed that a collaborative approach, involving the federal government, the provinces, and the territories, would maximize the benefits for businesses looking to expand and succeed abroad.
“There is no larger integrated economy in the world than the European Union, with its more than 500 million consumers and GDP of over $17 trillion,” the statement said. “Accordingly, there is no more important Canadian trade negotiating priority today than the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). As we speak, the federal government, the provinces, and territories are working together on what will be our most important international trade initiative since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).”
The joint statement went on to say that trade is equivalent to 60 percent of Canada’s economy and is linked to one in five jobs. At a time of economic uncertainty, it maintained, Canada needs to create new jobs and prosperity by looking to our global trading partners, including Europe.
“Canadian workers in our aerospace, aluminum, wood, transportation, agriculture, fish and seafood, and renewable energy sectors – to name just a few – have a vested interest in our gaining increased access to the European Union market,” the statement continued. “The benefits to Canadian workers and their families following the implementation of the CETA are estimated to be: a 20 percent boost in bilateral trade and a $12 billion annual increase to Canada’s economy. That is the equivalent of a $1,000 increase to the average Canadian family income – or 80,000 new jobs.
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