China trade mission will expand relationships
Premier Wade MacLauchlan will lead a Prince Edward Island delegation to China at a time when interest in economic cooperation between Canada and its second-largest trading partner is higher than ever before.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau went to China in fall 2016, and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited Canada just weeks later. On the heels of those back-to-back, trade-focused visits, the March 22-31 mission includes Economic Development and Tourism Minister Heath MacDonald and 21 Island businesses and education institutions; it is aimed at expanding the province’s partnerships with China in food, advanced manufacturing, education, and tourism.
“These face-to-face meetings are key to helping to deepen relationships and expand markets in China for Prince Edward Island products,” the premier said. “Missions like this directly benefit the Island economy by bringing more students to our education institutions, increasing our exports, and showing the world that we are a mighty Island in everything we offer as a trading partner.”
Meetings in Haikou, Hangzhou, Shanghai, and Beijing will connect the premier and minister with Chinese leaders in government, business, and education.
The smallest provinces in their respective countries, Prince Edward Island and Hainan Province have been sister provinces since 2001. They renewed their 15-year relationship last fall with an agreement pledging future cooperation in education, tourism, renewable energy, economic development, and trade between the provinces. The premier is invited to speak at the renowned BOAO Forum for Asia as well as the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Islands Economic Cooperation Forum, both taking place in Hainan.
China has become Prince Edward Island’s No. 2 trading partner (behind only the U.S.), accounting for more than $50 million in total commerce last year. The goal is to quadruple the province’s trade with China by 2025.
“The No. 1 component of our trade with China is food – which is a common link to increasing interest in our tourism and culture and proves that Prince Edward Island is becoming known worldwide as Canada’s Food Island,” Minister MacDonald said. “This mission will build on our commitment to expand exports and develop new sales opportunities for Island businesses, and strengthen the relationship between our people and our cultures.”
One of the University of Prince Edward Island’s goals for the mission is to expand its work with the Foundation College of China Scholarship Council in Beijing. It has hosted many Chinese students since 2013 who have studied family and nutritional sciences through the council.
“UPEI’s international cohort exceeds 20 per cent of our student population, with the largest group of students coming from China; our relationship with Hainan University spans 10 years and has resulted in many students coming to finish their degree with us,” UPEI President and Vice-Chancellor Alaa Abd-El-Aziz said. “We look forward to being part of this mission so that we may deepen existing relationships and create new ones.”
Companies and education institutions participating in the mission will attend briefings and programs and will also have time allotted for business-to-business meetings with Chinese companies.
“Our first objective in China is to meet and establish a personal relationship with the company that supplied our first 40-foot shipping container of polyurethane in January,” said Stephen Hurst, co-owner and president of Top Dog Manufacturing in Central Bedeque. The company makes protective clothing used mainly by food processors that it ships to 21 countries.
“Our second goal is to acquire equipment – which is not available in North America – to automate the protective sleeves and aprons portion of our business,” Hurst said, “which will help us increase our production and enhance our exporting potential significantly.”
More news on the mission will be provided as it progresses; for updates follow the Government of Prince Edward Island on Twitter at twitter.com/InfoPEI (#PEIChinaMission) and Facebook at facebook.com/govpe.
China now ranks as Prince Edward Island’s second-largest export market, at approximately $43 million each year. Top Island exports (per year) to China include:
• lobster – $40 million (live, frozen, prepared);
• parts of gas turbines – $1 million;
• frozen potato products – $600,000;
• machinery for food and beverage preparation – $900,000
• frozen beef – $400,000; and
• bioscience (including honey) $400,000.
The Prince Edward Island delegation to the China trade mission (March 22-31) includes:
• University of Prince Edward Island
• Holland College
• Study Abroad Canada
• Howards Cove Shellfish
• By the Water
• Allan Equipment Manufacturing Ltd.
• Aspin Kemp & Associates
• Top Dog Manufacturing
• PEI Bag Co.
• Royal Star Foods
• Atlantic Beef Products
• Appin Fine Foods
• PEI Juiceworks
• D.I. Jenkins Produce
• BioSpa (Quann) Cosmeceuticals
• Atlantic Wild Travel Ltd.
• GW Holdings
• COWS China
• Raspberry Point
• Canada’s Smartest Kitchen
• A1 Filters