Premier Leads Business Mission to the Middle East
Premier Kathleen Wynne's first mission to the Middle East will provide more opportunities for Ontario companies to compete internationally and support the government's plan to grow the economy and create jobs.
Purpose of the Mission
Premier Wynne will travel to the Middle East from May 15 to 20 to promote Ontario as a top innovation and knowledge economy partner and investment destination for businesses. The mission will position Ontario as a leader in producing cutting-edge technology and research, and lay the foundation for future partnerships. It will generate business agreements and partnerships in the innovation, life sciences, education and information communications technology (ICT) sectors.
The Premier will lead a business delegation to Israel to pursue trade and investment opportunities, seek opportunities to collaborate on research and development (R&D) projects, and sign agreements to work together on cutting-edge technological projects.
Representatives from several Ontario institutions will accompany the Premier to the West Bank to build relationships and seek opportunities for collaboration in the innovation and education sectors.
Importance of the Middle Eastern Market
International trade in the Middle East is growing, opening the door for more Ontario businesses to form partnerships with Israeli and Palestinian companies and institutions.
In 2015, two-way trade between Ontario and Israel was valued at over $900 million, making Israel one of Ontario's largest trading partners in the Middle East. Israel has one of the top innovation economies in the world, which makes it a priority market for trade and research. Ontario and Israel already have a successful Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Industrial and Technological Research and Development Cooperation, which has helped to connect over 680 Ontario and Israeli researchers, generate 15 industry-led R&D projects and leverage more than $16 million in outside funding.
In 2014, trade with North American countries led to more than $12.5 million USD in Palestinian exports and over $54 million USD in Palestinian imports. The Premier's mission will create ties between Ontario and Palestinian research and postsecondary institutions and build on successful partnerships formed during previous missions, such as a joint R&D project between Ontario-based Western University and West Bank-based Al-Quds University, which was completed in 2013.
About the Delegation
Premier Wynne will lead a delegation of experts from Ontario's life sciences, innovation, ICT and postsecondary sectors to explore strategic partnerships with key organizations and institutions in the Middle East.
The delegation of around 130 experts from life sciences, business and higher education institutions will build relationships by connecting with potential buyers, researchers and business leaders.
The delegation will travel with the Premier to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem from May 15 to 18. Several Ontario mission delegates will accompany the Premier to Ramallah in the West Bank on May 19 and to Haifa in Israel on May 20.