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A Major Step Forward

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A Major Step Forward

Ontario Trade Mission Will Lead To Increased Trade And Investment With China

Office of the Premier

HONG KONG -- Ontario's successful mission to China is a major step towards increased trade and investment with one of the world's fastest growing economies, Premier Dalton McGuinty said today.

"This has been a major step forward for Ontario, one that has tremendous potential for jobs and opportunity for Ontarians," the Premier said as the 12-day trade mission wrapped up this morning.

"Everywhere we have travelled, we have made it clear that Ontario is open for business, Ontario is open to China, and Ontario is aggressively pursuing greater two-way trade and investment," he said.

"Now we must follow up on the contacts we have made, the leads we have established, and the tremendous goodwill we have built."

The Premier led a delegation of more than 125 Ontarians, representing businesses, universities and colleges, municipalities, agricultural organizations and medical research institutions, to Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou, Nanjing and Hong Kong.

"We have stressed that Ontario is investing in education, fostering innovation, and competing for and winning new investment. We have told government and business leaders that we're ready to form new partnerships with the economic powerhouse that is China."

Highlights of the trade mission include:

  • The renewal of Ontario's 20-year-old friendship and co-operation agreement, including the formation of a new Business Council, with Jiangsu Province, one of the fastest growing regions in one of the fastest growing countries in the world.
  • The Premier's meetings with top government officials - considered essential in a country where official sanction is important to doing business - including the Vice-Chair of the National People's Congress Gu Xuilian, Vice Minister of Commerce Ma Xiuhong, Information Industries Minister Wang Xudong, Education Minister Zhou Ji, the Vice-Mayor of Shanghai Zhou Yupeng, the Vice-Mayor of Suzhou Zhou Weigiang, the Governor of Jiangsu Province Liang Baohua and the Party Secretary of Jiangsu province Li Yuanchao.
  • Major speeches to leading business groups and meetings with leading investors, including Li Ka Shing, the Chairman of Cheung Kong (Holdings) Ltd. and Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., and listed by Forbes as one of the richest men in the world.
  • The Premier's speech on the importance of rule of law and human rights to law students at Beijing's Tsinghua University and his visit with school children at Middle School #10 in Suzhou.
  • A successful series of business roundtables and seminars that matched Ontario businesses and institutions with potential partners in China and Hong Kong.
  • The signing of more than 30 agreements between Ontario businesses, educators, health providers, and municipalities and their Chinese and Hong Kong counterparts.

For example, the University of Waterloo secured a major partnership with Nanjing University that allows students to earn degrees by studying in both countries; Shred-Tech Corporation signed an agreement with a Beijing firm to manufacture and promote technology for the processing of medical waste; Mount Sinai Hospital signed an agreement to pursue joint genomics research with Hong Kong University; Hoken Agritech International Inc. agreed to supply bovine embryos and animal health products to a Nanjing diary company, Vanatter Group Inc. entered into a long term agreement with a Shanghai auto company, and Toronto's University Health Network will work with the Shanghai Institute of Health Sciences to research new cancer drugs.

"These agreements are significant, but they represent just the start of what we can accomplish in China and Hong Kong," said Joe Cordiano, Minister of Economic Development and Trade.

"For too much of the last decade, Ontario was missing in action on the world economic stage. Thanks to the Premier's leadership, we've turned that situation around. This mission has put Ontario's interests front and centre, here in one the world's biggest and most dynamic markets."

Tony Wong, a Hong Kong native who is the MPP for Markham, said this mission has generated tremendous goodwill among Chinese leaders and business people and positive feedback from Ontarians of Chinese descent.

"The economic boom in China is an incredible story, with cities and provinces experiencing economic growth exceeding 10, and even 20 per cent, year after year," the Premier said.

"Now the people writing China's story know Ontario's story -- and they know that increased investment and two-way trade between us will mean even greater prosperity for the people of China and the people of Ontario."

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