Atlantic federal ministers, premiers to lead mission to China

News release

Delegation to support more than 70 Atlantic Canadian businesses and organizations as they explore opportunities in the country

November 5, 2018 – Moncton, New Brunswick – Government of Canada and Atlantic Provinces

Helping innovative small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) grow their businesses and enter new markets is critical to fueling Atlantic Canada’s economy and creating more well-paying jobs in the region. As Canada’s second largest single country trading partner and Canada’s third largest source of tourists, China presents enormous economic opportunities for Atlantic Canada and Atlantic Canadian businesses.

To that end, federal ministers and Atlantic premiers are leading an Atlantic Growth Strategy (AGS) mission to China from November 8 to 13, 2018 to support the region’s food, clean growth, education, and tourism sectors, and encourage new partnerships in the country.

In parallel with this mission, more than 70 Atlantic Canadian businesses and organizations are participating in expositions and trade shows in China (including business-to-business matchmaking). The AGS leadership delegation will visit a number of these events to lend their support to businesses and promote Atlantic Canada’s advantages.

The official itinerary includes the China Fisheries and Seafood Expo (CFSE) 2018 in Qingdao, the China International Import Expo (CIIE) 2018 in Shanghai, and the Canada China Business Council (CCBC) 2018 Annual General Meeting in Beijing. It also includes meetings and events to promote Atlantic Canada’s education, tourism and clean growth sectors; Atlantic educational organizations will share their research and development in renewable energy and technologies; ministers and premiers will meet with their counterparts to encourage tourism to the region.

Atlantic Canadian goods exported to China totalled more than $1.5 billion in 2017 – a 37 per cent increase over 2016. Opportunities exist to grow this number even further. Total Atlantic Canada food and beverage exports to China have more than doubled in the last five years, totalling just under $700 million in 2017.[1] Chinese tourism to Canada is rapidly increasing, reaching a record 695,000 arrivals in 2017, up 12 per cent over 2016.[2] These numbers are expected to grow, as the Government of Canada and the four Atlantic provinces continue to leverage the region’s competitive advantages, such as its strong export potential, growing innovation ecosystem, world-class educational institutions, skilled workforce, and world-renowned tourism experiences.

This mission is a result of cooperative actions through the Atlantic Growth Strategy, a federal and provincial initiative that directs targeted actions to stimulate the region’s economy, support both innovative and resource-based industries, and increase job opportunities for Atlantic Canadians.


[1] Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, Trade Data Online. We look at domestic goods exports to China. For the food and beverage exports to China, it includes domestic exports for agriculture (NAICS 111-112), food manufacturing (311) and beverage manufacturing (3121). Also included are fishing, aquaculture and seafood (NAICS 1141, 1125 and 3117).

[2] Destination Canada’s China Market Highlights


"I look forward to seeing the impacts of the upcoming mission to China for Atlantic Canada. This region has exceptional products, innovators and small business owners – all of which have the potential to find success in international markets. With China being Canada’s second largest single country trading partner, tapping into its market potential is critical to the future prosperity of Atlantic Canadian workers and their families."

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

"I am looking forward to showcasing Canada's top-quality agricultural and seafood products to the fast growing Chinese market. This federal-provincial trade mission will allow us to introduce more Chinese buyers to what we have to offer. This is one of the many initiatives stemming from the Atlantic Growth Strategy, fueling long-term economic growth for the region."

The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“The Atlantic Growth Strategy mission to China builds on our government’s investments and initiatives, which are creating new opportunities for Atlantic Canada. Developing our trade capacity and diversification will lead to sustainable, long-term economic growth with more secure, well-paying jobs for Atlantic Canadians.”

The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade

"I am pleased to see the progress and results achieved to date under the Atlantic Growth Strategy. The mission to China is a continuation of previous federal-provincial efforts to raise incomes, generate growth and strengthen the middle class and those seeking to join it."

– The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health

"This trade mission builds on the regional collaboration that is at the heart of the Atlantic Growth Strategy. The participating businesses from across Atlantic Canada will benefit from the leadership of our federal government in partnership with the provinces to help them open doors to new export growth in one of the biggest markets in the world."

The Honourable Scott Brison, President of the Treasury Board

"China’s growing appetite for safe, high-quality made-in-Canada products translates into tremendous opportunities for our workers and their families. Strengthening the commercial ties between our two countries will help Atlantic Canadian companies grow and diversify their markets, which will bring greater prosperity for all Canadians."

– The Honourable James Gordon Carr, Minister of International Trade Diversification

"Expanding and diversifying international trade leads to a more resilient economy, which in turn leads to sustainable growth and better-paying jobs for the middle class. I’m looking forward to this mission and to supporting the goals of the Atlantic Growth Strategy."

The Honourable Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance

"We look forward to further strengthening our bond with China beyond the Canada-China Year of Tourism. China is Canada’s second-largest overseas source market for tourists, and our goal is to double the number of Chinese visitors coming to Canada by 2021. This will help spur economic growth that benefits everyone and create good middle-class jobs. I am pleased to be part of this mission to support Atlantic Canadian businesses and to promote Atlantic Canada as a tourism destination."

Alaina Lockhart, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie

"Prince Edward Island and China have developed a valuable relationship with one another over the years. It is one that we honour, respect and look to expand for economic, educational and cultural opportunities. I look forward to exploring the endless possibilities ahead of us with Island businesses, educational institutions and my fellow Atlantic Canadians."

The Honourable Wade MacLauchlan, Premier of Prince Edward Island

"China is an important trading partner for Nova Scotia and our region. Our exports to China have grown in recent years, and we look forward to continued engagement through trade missions like this one building on that success."

The Honourable Stephen McNeil, Premier of Nova Scotia

"Newfoundland and Labrador is open for business. I am pleased to lead the province’s delegation to China with the goal of building relationships, attracting new investment and identifying opportunities for our ocean technology, mining, food and beverage, and seafood industries, as well as our post-secondary sector. In collaboration with our Atlantic Growth Strategy partners and through specific action by ourselves, we can best position Newfoundland and Labrador businesses and organizations on the global stage and support them grow their businesses and create new jobs."

The Honourable Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador

Quick facts

  • Launched in July 2016, the Atlantic Growth Strategy focuses on five strategic priorities for the region: trade and investment; skilled workforce and immigration; innovation; clean growth and climate change; and infrastructure.

  • Of the $1.5 billion Atlantic Canadian goods exported to China in 2017, over 43 per cent were seafood, fishing and aquaculture products.

  • Overall Atlantic Canadian exported goods to China have been steadily increasing since 2014, with the 2017 total alone being more than 37 per cent higher than 2016.

  • Chinese travellers typically spend more on average than other travellers. The average amount spent per trip in 2017 was $2,387. Chinese tourists contributed an estimated $1.6 billion to the Canadian economy in 2017.

  • The China Fisheries & Seafood Expo (CFSE), one of the world’s largest seafood trade shows, will feature up to 30 Atlantic Canadian companies. Cooking demonstrations throughout the event will highlight the quality of Atlantic Canadian seafood products.

  • The China International Import Expo (CIIE) is a new trade show hosted by the Chinese government to strengthen economic trade and cooperation. Minister Lawrence MacAulay will lead a Canadian delegation of more than 600 people to CIIE, including federal ministers, premiers and Canadian businesses. This multi-day event expects to attract 150,000 domestic and foreign professional purchasers.

  • The 40th Canada China Business Council (CCBC) Annual General Meeting and Business Forum will connect Canadian and Chinese business and government executives with interest in Canada-China affairs, offering a key opportunity to promote Atlantic Canadian products and businesses.

  • During the Atlantic Growth Strategy mission, 20 additional Atlantic Canadian companies will be in China to participate in Food & Hotel China and pursue other trade opportunities.

  • Finance Minister Bill Morneau and International Trade and Diversification Minister James Carr will lend their support to the mission by participating in the CCBC Annual General Meeting November 12 in Beijing.

  • Canada’s two-way foreign direct investment relationship with China is deepening, with the stock of investment increasing from $15.9 billion in 2010 to nearly $27.1 billion in 2017.

  • Canada and China designated 2018 the Canada-China Year of Tourism, which includes initiatives to increase the flow of tourists and promote cultural activities.

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Associated links


Nilani Logeswaran
Issues Manager
Office of the Honourable Navdeep Bains,
Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Farees Nathoo
Media Relations
Office of the President of the Treasury Board

Vincent Hughes
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc,
Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade

Jérémy Ghio
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and la Francophonie

Katie Hawkins
Office of the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay

Vicki Tse
Executive Council of Prince Edward Island

Thierry Bélair
Office of the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor,
Minister of Health

David Jackson
Office of the Premier of Nova Scotia
Tel: 902-424-3882

Michelle Cannizzaro
Office of the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador

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