Minister Runciman meets with president of Italy's Abruzzo region
TORONTO, May 29 /CNW/ - Ontario Minister of Economic Development and Trade Bob Runciman, on behalf of Premier Mike Harris, met May 28 with the visiting President of Italy's Abruzzo region, Giovanni Pace. Minister Runciman was joined at the meeting by MPPs Frank Mazzilli and Joe Spina.
President Pace visited Ontario accompanied by business leaders from Abruzzo. He and his delegation met Italian-Canadian community leaders in several southern Ontario cities.
Minister Runciman and President Pace exchanged views on a variety of issues. Throughout the meeting, Minister Runciman impressed upon the President the outstanding contributions made by members of the Italian community to Ontario's economy and cultural vitality. There are more than 750,000 Italian- Canadians living in Ontario, more than 70,000 of whom emigrated from Abruzzo.
Minister Runciman reviewed for President Pace the extensive relationship that exists between Italy and the Government of Ontario. Premier Harris travelled to Italy in 1997 and 2000, meeting with then-Italian President Scalfaro in 1997. Ontario hosted former Prime Minister Amato in Toronto in March, 2001; Premier Harris met the Prime Minister on that occasion. Additionally, the late Al Palladini led two trade missions to Italy in 1998 and 2000 as Ontario Minister of Economic Development and Trade. Ontario Exports Inc., the government's leading trade agency, identifies Italy as a priority market for expanding trade in Europe.
President Pace thanked the Ontario government for the warm welcome extended to him. He expressed interest in promoting greater economic and cultural exchanges, especially in the education sector. Abruzzo would like to host significantly more Ontario students, and hopes to formalize agreements with Ontario universities.
The President and the Minister also discussed the possibility of a trade and investment mission to Italy, led by Minister Runciman. The Minister thanked the President for Italy's support in helping Ontario secure access to the European market for Ontario ice wines, and encouraged further market- opening initiatives. Ontario imported almost $1.9 billion-worth of Italian- made products in 2000, while Ontario exports to Italy were valued at $323 million.
/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available
on the Canadian Press Photo Network/
For further information: Hal Vincent, Minister's Office, (416) 325-8779