Minister Champagne concludes productive visit to Belgium, France and Germany
November 12, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario
Minister pitched opportunities in Canada’s ZEV and AI hubs in meetings with European stakeholders
Today, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, François-Philippe Champagne, concluded visits to three German cities and to Brussels and Paris, where he met with governmental counterparts and business leaders in key sectors.
Minister Champagne began his trip in Germany, where he met with corporate leaders and stakeholders in Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Munich. He promoted Canada as a hub of expertise and talent for zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) manufacturing, electric vehicle research and battery, fuel cell and hydrogen production. The Minister highlighted the policies the Government of Canada has put in place, including the Net Zero Accelerator, to support the development of the full supply chain for electric vehicles and clean technologies in Canada, from the mining of critical minerals to the recycling of batteries.
In Brussels, Minister Champagne met with his European Union (EU) counterpart, Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market. Following up on the Canada–EU summit in June 2021, the Minister and the Commissioner discussed ways to deepen trade and scientific ties between Canada and EU member states. The Minister also met with senior representatives of the European Commission to discuss a wide range of areas of cooperation, including industrial policy and the digital economy.
In Paris, Minister Champagne highlighted Canada’s leadership role in the responsible development of artificial intelligence (AI) and in championing international collaboration in this rapidly evolving area of technology. He participated in the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI) Paris Summit, where he met with counterparts from GPAI’s 19 member countries and leading experts in AI. Minister Champagne held a bilateral meeting with Cédric O, France’s Minister of State for the Digital Transition and Electronic Communications, to discuss the handover of GPAI’s chairmanship from Canada to France. During the summit, Minister Champagne highlighted the progress that has been made in GPAI’s first year during Canada’s chairmanship, including examining how AI can be used to address complex global challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.
Minister Champagne also attended the Paris Peace Forum with French President Emmanuel Macron and a Remembrance Day event at the Canadian embassy in Paris.
Minister Champagne met with Mathias Cormann, Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris to discuss joint priorities, such as the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, digitalization, a way forward on trusted government access, and climate change.
Minister Champagne also met with corporate leaders in Paris to discuss opportunities for partnership and investment in sectors across Canada.
“This week was focused on selling Canada as a competitive investment destination, including in clean technology, automotive and battery supply chains and AI. It was an opportunity to highlight to leaders in government and business that Canada offers a unique value proposition, with its critical natural resources, clean energy, competitive business environment and strong free trade agreement with Europe.”
— The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
German companies are some of the biggest investors and supply chain partners for the Canadian manufacturing sector, and similarly, Canadians are also important clients for German firms. Germany is the 10th-largest foreign investor in Canada, and 5th among European countries, with direct investment valued at $18.2 billion at the end of 2020. Germany is also Canada’s 6th-largest merchandise trading partner, with 2-way merchandise trade totalling $23.7 billion in 2020.
The visit to Belgium signalled the importance of the Canada–EU bilateral relationship and highlighted Canada’s willingness to engage with the EU on common interests relating to the digital economy, science, technology and innovation, and supply chains.
Canada and the EU share strong trade ties: in 2020 the EU was Canada’s 2nd-largest trading partner, with $28.7 billion in goods and $11.3 billion in services exported to the EU, accounting for 5.5% of Canada’s global goods exports and 9.9% of Canada’s global services exports.
Canada and France share particularly robust trade and investment relations. Even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, France has remained Canada’s 9th-largest merchandise trading partner. In 2020, bilateral trade with France totalled $10.2 billion and Canadian exports to France increased by 2% to $3.7 billion. France is also the 12th-largest foreign investor in Canada, with direct investment of $17.7 billion at the end of 2020.
Senior Manager, Communications and Media Relations
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
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