International Trade Strengthens Canada’s Competitive Position

An Embedded Trade Commissioner to Join the Consider Canada City Alliance

May 14, 2014 Saskatoon, SK – The Minister of International Trade, the Honourable Ed Fast, announced a series of measures today to improve the ability of cities and small and medium enterprises (SME’s) to take economic advantage of Canada’s increasing network of investment and trade agreements and policies. Among the commitments was the assignment of an embedded Trade Commissioner position to the Consider Canada City Alliance.

The Consider Canada City Alliance (CCCA) brings together 12 of Canada’s major cities to work together to attract investment from around the world. This collaborative approach to international outreach allows the participating regions to leverage their investment dollars and increase the scope of their activities. The ability of the CCCA members to work directly with the Invest in Canada Bureau and the Trade Commissioner Service of the Department of Foreign Affairs Trade and Development brings the collaborative approach to a new level. As city economies increasingly become the drivers of national economies, this innovative linking of municipal and federal organizations will strengthen Canada’s value equation to foreign investors and create a more direct link between SME’s and Canada’s foreign presence.

“Canada’s small and medium-sized businesses are job creators for hard-working Canadians in every region of the country,” said Minister Fast. “Our government is committed to helping them grow, expand and succeed in new markets around the world, which we know creates new jobs and opportunities here at home.”

The Trade Commissioner Service, with representation in over 150 cities worldwide, provides hands-on knowledge of international markets and extensive networks of international business contacts. The CCCA members have equivalent knowledge and networks within their individual communities. This new position will provide the vital link between these two networks, increasing the exchange of information in a much more streamlined and cost-effective process. It will also assist in a better understanding of the respective roles in investment and trade at the federal and community levels.

“The partnership between the CCCA and the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development on investment attraction and business retention has been steadily growing,” said Paul Kent, Chair of the CCCA and President and CEO, Greater Halifax Partnership. “Having an embedded trade commissioner further improves our ability to capture investment and trade opportunities in an increasingly constrained resource environment. This represents a global best practice.”

Saskatoon, for instance, targets markets in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan in addition to the U.S. and Europe. Establishing working relationships with trade commissioners in all of these markets and arming them with a clear understanding of the city’s strengths and opportunities presents a continued challenge to the resources of the region’s economic development authority, SREDA.

“The competition to attract investment, retain business and increase trade is fierce,” said Jim George, Acting President and CEO of SREDA. “With the federal government actively working with the CCCA cities, helps to better understand the role of local economic development agencies, like SREDA that lead foreign direct investment for our SME’s. This can really jumpstart our international outreach activities. Bringing these 12 communities together to work as a collective is a significant step forward in our success and now bringing on a dedicated resource from Foreign Affairs steps it up one more notch.”

Making it easier for foreign investors to match their objectives to the opportunities available in Canada is the bottom line for the Consider Canada City Alliance. Having a resource active within the extensive trade commission network spreads the message much faster and more broadly. This position increases our global competitiveness through the effective leveraging of federal and community resources.