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Mission to Japan and South Korea Aims to Boost Ontario's Competitiveness

Archived Backgrounder

Mission to Japan and South Korea Aims to Boost Ontario's Competitiveness

Office of the Premier

To continue to grow Ontario's economy, Premier Kathleen Wynne is leading a mission to Japan and South Korea to increase trade and attract investment. The mission will create opportunities for Ontario businesses and increase their global competitiveness.

Purpose of the Mission 

Premier Wynne will lead a business delegation to sign partnership agreements and seek opportunities for collaboration on innovative business opportunities. The mission will lay the groundwork for more opportunities in the growing Japanese and South Korean markets, supporting the government's plan to grow the economy and create jobs.

Premier Wynne will promote Ontario's innovation ecosystem and leadership in key sectors to strengthen ties in automotive, aerospace, manufacturing, information and communications technologies (ICT), and life sciences.

Building on recent successful visits by Ontario ministers, Premier Wynne will meet with business and political leaders to strengthen economic partnerships and seek new opportunities to collaborate.

Importance of the Japanese Market

Almost 40,000 people of Japanese descent call Ontario home. Building on those strong community ties, Japan is Ontario's fifth-largest trading partner in the world and second-largest trading partner in Asia after China. Two-way trade between Ontario and Japan exceeded $11 billion in 2015. Japan has a growing economy that offers new trade opportunities for Ontario businesses -- it is the world's third-largest economy, with an estimated population of 127 million and an estimated GDP of $6 trillion CAD in 2015.

Ontario established a Trade and Investment Office in Tokyo in 2006 to promote investment, trade, and science and technology opportunities. By connecting more of Ontario and Japan's scientists, engineers, innovators and experts, we will deliver the next generation of breakthroughs. Ontario innovators are leaders in Artificial Intelligence (AI) -- the province funds industry-led partnerships focused on the adoption of disruptive technologies including AI, Internet of Things, Big Data Analytics and Smart Computing technologies.

Japanese companies are already taking advantage of Ontario's competitive business environment, particularly in the manufacturing, automotive, aerospace, life sciences, ICT and cleantech sectors. More than 70 per cent of Japanese direct investment to Canada was made in Ontario companies between 2006 and 2015. Large companies including Ricoh, Sony, Toyota, Honda and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries have established operations in Ontario.

Importance of the South Korean Market

Ontario is home to Canada's largest South Korean community -- more than 82,000 people -- creating a natural link between the regions. South Korea's economy has experienced rapid growth over the past three decades -- in 2015, its GDP was over $1.7 trillion CAD. Two-way trade between Ontario and South Korea is increasing and reached almost $6 billion in 2015. South Korea is an emerging global trading partner for Ontario -- it has the fourth-largest economy in Asia and Canada has a Free Trade Agreement with South Korea to support increased international trade. This provides new opportunities for Ontario businesses to export to South Korea. 

South Korean companies recognize the advantages of Ontario's competitive business environment. Many large South Korean companies already have operations in Ontario, including Hyundai, Samsung, LG, Kia and Hana Financial. From 2006 to 2015, South Korean companies invested approximately $453 million USD in Ontario, mainly in motor vehicle parts, renewable energy projects, banking and advertising.

About the Delegation

Premier Wynne will lead a delegation of experts from various sectors to explore strategic partnerships with key organizations and institutions in Japan and South Korea. They will build relationships by connecting with potential investors, researchers and business leaders.

A delegation of 45 will travel with the Premier to Japan, with a total delegation of 48 joining the mission to South Korea.

Minister of Economic Development and Growth Brad Duguid is joining the Premier on the mission. Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation David Zimmer will join for a portion of the mission.

Mayor of Stratford Dan Mathieson and Mayor of Cambridge Doug Craig are joining the delegation to Japan.

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