China trade mission 2017

House statement by Hon. H. Wade MacLauchlan to the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

At the end of March, the Province and 21 Prince Edward Island businesses and educational institutions returned from a trade and investment mission to China.

It was the largest-ever Island delegation to China and it’s safe to say that the connections we made and expanded upon will benefit our economy and Islanders in the coming years.

China is our province’s second-biggest international trading partner behind the United States with more than $40 million in total commerce in 2016.

That’s a big achievement for a province our size, and we believe there is tremendous potential for growth. We certainly saw evidence of that potential during our seven- day visit.

Our goal is to quadruple trade with China by 2025.

Our main areas of focus for this mission were food, education, advanced manufacturing, and tourism.

Prince Edward Island is Canada’s Food Island, and better than half of the delegates who traveled to China represented the food industry in one form or another. They included Royal Star Foods, PEI Juiceworks and Raspberry Point Oysters, among others.

Members of the delegation met with both JD.com – one of the world’s largest e-commerce sites with almost 300 million users – and alibaba.com, one of the world’s largest online retail commerce sites, with almost 500 million. Those meetings explored opportunities for Island companies especially in the food business.

The delegation wrapped up the mission with a visit to a Cows store in Beijing.  Since 2014, Cows has been serving premium quality ice cream imported to China from Prince Edward Island. During the mission they confirmed a partnership to take COWS stores to multiple sites operated by one of the largest tourism operators in Western China.

Delegates were also able to scope out new opportunities in the area of advanced manufacturing. A great example is Aspin Kemp and Associates and COSCO Shipping Corporation, who agreed to jointly pursue the development of advanced power and propulsion technologies in the marine and oil and gas sectors.

Lennie MacAusland from A1 Filters says the mission was very successful for his company and he expects to start shipping product to China in the very near future.

The Minister of Economic Development and Tourism met with dozens of Chinese travel media and tour operators in both Beijing and Shanghai. A tour operator from PEI, Frank Chen, who specializes in Chinese tourism was on the Mission and will have his tour packages on alibaba.com for the 2017 season.

There were also significant successes in China in the field of education.

The University of Prince Edward Island and Holland College signed agreements to develop joint ventures and programs and to exchange research, faculty, and students with their fellow Chinese colleges and universities. Dr. Sandy MacDonald, Holland College’s vice president of Academic and Applied Research, says the mission helped the school deepen and enhance its existing partnership programs as well as network and begin discussions with new potential partners.

Mr. Speaker, there were many other business and educational development meetings held over the course of the mission, and I am confident that over the coming weeks and months we will see these meetings bear fruit.

The partnerships we have made in China will help to further expand markets for Prince Edward Island products and make us more prosperous, demonstrating that we are a mighty Island that knows how to compete on the world stage.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Read the related news release: China mission will pay dividends for Island economy

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