Diversifying your Business to Europe: The Ambassadors Speak
Written by Administrator
Tuesday, 14 June 2016 00:00
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On Tuesday, June 14, 2016, EUCCAN was organizing a seminar on EU business opportunities in cooperation with Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP and Global Affairs Canada. Guests of Honor included Peter McGovern, Ambassador of Canada to Italy, and Stephen de Boer, Ambassador of Canada to Poland.

At the recent seminar hosted by the Toronto law firm Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, EUCCAN’s first Vice President, Anders Fisker, told the audience that the European Commission has announced that the legal scrub and the English translation of the CETA treaty draft have just been completed. As a result, its ratification and implementation are expected to be announced by mid 2017.

Peter McGovern, Canada’s Ambassador to Italy, commented that he had just come from the first-ever meeting in Ottawa of all of Canada’s 130 ambassadors. It announced three main objectives for our overseas representatives - improving the safety of Canadians travelling abroad, making Canada a more prosperous country and increasing Canada’s influence on the world’s stage. He also stressed the strong ties between Canada and Italy based firmly on the 1.5 million Canadians who claim Italian heritage. As well, he reminded the audience that Canada’s sacrifices defending European freedom are highly regarded. During the World War I, 61,000 Canadian troops were killed when our total population was only 9 million. In World War II, the losses totalled 44,000 with 6,000 of them occurring in Italy. He reminded the audience that Italy is a prosperous country. Its per capita GDP is €28,000 (C$40,700). As well, the state of Modena in central Italy is the most prosperous in all of the European Union.

Overall, the 28-member EU is the world’s largest single market with half a billion affluent consumers. It is both the the world’s largest source of and recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI). As for Canada, the EU ranks second in incoming FDI and fourth as an outgoing destination. Ambassador McGovern foresees a golden opportunity for Canadian east coast natural gas producers to export its products to the EU as an alternative to current problematic shipments from Russia. He also noted that LNG deliveries from Halifax arrive 11 days earlier in Europe than those from Houston TX.

Poland is equally concerned about the security of its energy sources from Russia despite having the the largest coal reserves in Europe. Canada’s Ambassador to Poland, Stephen de Boer, noted that many major Canadian firms including Pratt & Whitney, McCain Foods, Bombardier and CGI are active in in Poland, attracted by its skilled, low-cost workforce, growing national prosperity and its strategic location in the centre of the EU. In the other direction, Polish firms such as mining giant KGHM has operations in Sudbury, ON, and Kamloops, BC, digital games developer Techland has opened a studio in Vancouver, InPost is busy rolling out an extensive independent locker network across Canada and Comarch has unveiled a digital-link, smart-city network in Montreal. In addition to energy, Poland offers Canadian exporters numerous opportunities in other sectors including agricultural equipment and technology, defence and security as well as advanced manufacturing, especially in aerospace and automotive.

In the Q&A session, both speakers emphasized the Trade Commissioner Service role in assisting Canadian exporters, especially small-and-medium sized firms to develop overseas markets. Such assistance is free. In overseas postings, local staff with the necessary language skills and business connections together with trade commissioners can introduce Canadian executives to suitable partners and follow up as they expand their foreign sales.

Article by Ken Mark

Last Updated ( Monday, 31 October 2016 15:06 )