Address by Minister Champagne at the Canada-China Mining Investment Forum during the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada International Convention, Trade Show and Investors Exchange
March 7, 2017– Toronto, Ontario
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.
It’s a great pleasure to be here. I want to thank the organizers for the invitation to speak with you today.
This is a great opportunity to explore new partnership and investment opportunities here in Canada -- one of the largest mining nations in the world.
In fact, the success of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada’s International Convention, which regularly attracts more than 20,000 attendees each year and hundreds of exhibitors from around the world, is a testament to importance of mining in Canada, and the size of Canada’s extractive sector.
On behalf of the Government of Canada, let me therefore join with the organizers in welcoming everyone to this Forum and to the Convention.
I am effectively the Chief Marketing Officer for Canada and I can tell you that your expertise, Canada’s significant strengths in the extractive sector – all of it – are in demand in every corner of the globe. My job is to help create more of those opportunities and to create the basis for expanded trade in the world. Because quite simply, trade means growth and growth means jobs for the middle class.
Canada is poised for great things in the 21st century because we have learned the lessons of the past, we are putting the middle class at the heart of our trading agenda and together with your help we will engage the world of opportunity on our terms, in our interests and with results that will be felt far beyond the bottom line of balance sheets.
We are pursuing trade that is has multi-generational benefits for our workers, including those just entering the workforce now, as well as the environment they will inherit and the values the believe we should be projecting into the world.
In fact, trade has already helped build our country into a top 10 global economy with only the world’s 38th-largest population. Together, we can ensure those numbers not only improve but are felt by the people.
My friends, Canada’s natural resources hold great growth potential for investors because we are so committed to an agenda that puts the middle class first and specifically to the folks gathered here, to responsible business conduct and corporate social responsibility in mining. And in support of investors, Canada’s investment regime for natural resources is one of the most open in the world.
Taken together, that is why Canada is a world leader in the extractive sector -- producing more than 60 minerals and metals. We rank in the top five countries around the world in the global production of potash, uranium, aluminum, as well as a host of other minerals and metals.
Nearly 3,700 suppliers provide expertise to the industry, including hundreds of engineering, environmental, legal, ﬁnancial and equipment companies. Canada has the world’s second-largest mining supply sector.
With interests in more than 8,000 properties in more than 100 countries, Canadian extractive-sector companies account for almost half the mining and exploration activity in the world.
Canada also has a long-standing reputation of welcoming foreign direct investment, and I am here today to welcome investment from everyone here and from other Chinese firms.
This will strengthen both of our economies – creating jobs and continued prosperity for Canadians and Chinese alike.
Our two countries already share a long history of commercial cooperation and people-to-people ties. Premier Li Keqiang recognized this last year on his official visit to Canada when he recalled that “Canada took the lead in breaking the trade embargo against China” in the 1960s through wheat sales at a difficult time in China’s history.
The Government of Canada is building on this history of friendship between our two countries and has made it a top priority to create a stronger, more stable long-term relationship with China. . As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, we have entered “an era of greater co-operation and mutual benefit” between our two countries.
After years of strong growth, China is now Canada’s second largest single-nation trading partner, behind only the United States, with two-way merchandise trade reaching almost $86 billion in 2015. Last year, we set a goal to double bilateral trade by 2025.
Foreign direct investment between Canada and China is also significant, having increased nearly eight-fold between 2005 and 2013, to a total of $33 billion at the end of 2015. The University of Alberta put the tally at over $50 billion. We are committed to building on this incredible progress.
We recognize that we have complementary strengths and that there is tremendous potential to grow our commercial relationship.
During Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s visit to China last year, both countries agreed to hold an annual Leaders’ dialogue as well as a Financial and Economic Strategic Dialogue. These mechanisms will allow us to strengthen the foundations of our relationship for years to come. A stronger Canada-China relationship will unlock the untapped potential in our two countries’ commercial ties, with the ultimate goal to create jobs, strengthen the middle class and those working hard to join it on both sides of the Pacific, and build economies that create opportunities for everyone. This is very much consistent with the remarks given by President Xi at the World Economic Forum earlier this year.
In line with this, we have begun exploratory discussions on a potential free trade agreement with China.
Engaging with Canadians on a possible free trade agreement with China is also important, which is why the government launched public consultations this past weekend.
The bottom line is that Canada is open for business. Our goal is to expand the twin engines of economic growth –trade and investment. We’re doing that in every market and in every sector, including mining.
We also welcome partnerships between Canadian and Chinese companies that bring together capital and capabilities, with a view to the shared pursuit of new markets and opportunities – be they in North America, China, or elsewhere around the world.
This morning, you will be hearing a lot more about the many opportunities for mining investment and development in Canada.
So let me conclude my remarks by extending my best wishes for a successful forum.
I hope that this event is a productive and fruitful one for all of you, leading to mutually beneficial partnerships that raise the Canada-China investment relationship to a new level.
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