West China Meets Western Canada
A Trade and Investment Conference
(Edmonton, Alberta, October 3 – 6, 2001)
West China Meets Western Canada
A Trade and Investment Conference
(Edmonton, Alberta, October 3 – 6, 2001)
There was registration by government officials, corporations and individuals that were interested in one, some or all of the sectors of the economy highlighted at the conference. The CCCCD is pleased to say that the total paid registration to the conference was 94 delegates. Of this, 48 were Chinese and 46 were Canadian. This does not include those that attended but were not required to pay the delegate fee (i.e. Special Guests and Dignitaries). There are several highlights to mention regarding the attendance and participation at the conference. The Guest of Honor and Senior delegate from China was Mr. Abulaiti Abudurexiti, the Governor of Xinjiang (China’s largest and far northwestern province). Senior Canadian Officials included: the Hon. Dr. Rey D. Pagtakhan, Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific), Government of Canada, the Hon. Halvar C. Jonson, Minister of International & Intergovernmental Relations, Government of Alberta, and the Hon. Jim Edwards, President & CEO, Economic Development Edmonton. The CCCCD also had tremendous support and assistance by both the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa and from Mr. Gu Huaming, Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Calgary, and his staff.
The CCCCD envisioned a program that included discussion on various sectors of the economy in which Canadian companies could play a role. Each session was one and one half-hours and consisted of a moderator and panel members. Each panelist was given time (according to the number of presentations per session) to speak on the topics related to their areas of expertise. A list of the sessions and the presenters is bellow:
Doing Business in China and Investment Opportunities
Mr. Su Chongji, Deputy General Manager, Sichuan Goods & Materials Co.
Mr. Craig Wilson, Consul & Head of Mission, Canadian Consulate in Chongqing
Doing Business in Canada and Investment Opportunities
Ms. Dee Pannu, Trade Commissioner - Investment, Industry Canada
Mr. Jonathan Dai, President, Howlund International Corp.
Mr. Bill Cheung, Lawyer, Shtabsky & Tussman
Ms. Danea Armstrong, Manager of Investment Attraction, Saskatoon Economic Development Agriculture & Agri-Food
Mr. Colin Campbell, Senior Trade Commissioner, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada
Dr. Chi Chang, Lethbridge Research Center, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada
Mr. Wu Minqi, President, China Xinjiang International Industry Co. Ltd
Construction Engineering and Building Materials
Mr. Murray Rasmusson, Export Manager, Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation
Mr. Doug Smith, President, Conematic Heating Systems Inc.
Mr. Jim Dangerfield, Vice President, Forintek Canada Corp.
Environment & Forestry
Mr. Jerry Keller, Executive Director, Alberta Environmental Services Association
Mr. Reg Belyea, Manager, Business Development, GKO Engineering
Dr. Hongmao Tang, Engineer, Maxxam Analytics Inc.
Dr. Paul Short, Forestry Industry, Business Division, Alberta Government
Education and Training
Mr. Kent Oliver, Director of International and Business Development,
Northern Alberta Institute of Technology
Dr. Edy Wong, Assistant Dean, International Education,
School of Business, University of Alberta
Dr. Roger Hussey, Dean, Odette School of Business, University of Windsor
Dr. Ivan Somlai, Associate Director, International Contract Services,
University College of the Cariboo
Mr. Su Chongji, Chengdu Representative, Howlund International China
Mr. Raymond Drouin, Program Manager, Asia Bureau, ICPCPB, CIDA
Mr. Peter Campbell, Vice President, International, HSBC Bank Canada
Ms. Karen Goss, Business Development Manager, Western Canada, EDC
Mr. Tom DeWolf, Manager, Market Opportunities and Development,
Canadian Commercial Corporation
Plenary and Keynote Addresses
The Hon. Mr. Abulaiti Abudurexiti, The Governor of Xinjiang, China
Corporate Keynote Addressees:
Mr. Steve Ireland, President, Norada Corporation
Mr. Malcom Gibbons, VP International, Stantec
Luncheon Address & Closing Ceremony:
The Hon. Dr. Rey D. Pagtakhan, Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific
Mr. Barry Mehr, Deputy Minister, Alberta Economic Development
The CCCCD is very proud to have been able to organize such a distinguished group of presenters. The information that these individuals disseminated helped the delegates to recognize that Canadian companies have much to offer the West China market. It was evident that the level of real dialogue and real interest by all the parties was sincere and meaningful. The in-depth questions that were coming from the delegates post presentation exemplified this.
The Educational and Training and the Building, Engineering & Construction sessions received the most attention by the delegates. However, there should be a special mention here for the Project Financing session. This session took place the last day of the conference on a Friday before a Canadian long-weekend. The strong attendance at this session is a testimonial to the commitment by the delegates to gaining information and seeking real business relationships. As well, the high level and profile of the panel members and the quality of their presentations was also a deciding factor for the delegates.
The Plenary session speech by the Governor of Xinjing titled “Infrastructure Development and Plans for West China” set the tone for the level of dialogue between the participants. The other notable highlights include the Economic Development Edmonton Sponsored Corporate Luncheon, where two speeches were given by Corporate representatives on their business in China and the opportunities that exist. In addition, the speech by the Secretary of State for Asia Pacific highlighted the Canadian Government’s role in fostering bilateral relation and the need for associations like the CCCCD to continue their important work.
The Canada-China Council for Cooperation and Development has had the pleasure of working with some incredible individuals and organizations that recognize the value of such a project and the need for furthering trade relations between Canada and China.
Dr. Rey Pagtakhan, Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific said in his Keynote Address to the delegates at the luncheon on October 5th, 2001 the following:
“There is an important role for Canadian business associations, like the Canada-China Council for Cooperation and Development, to play in strengthening and creating Sino-Canadian links which are crucial to expanding our business dialogue. Fostering this dialogue will provide increased access to Chinese markets by Canadian exporters of goods and service.”
The recognition of the value that our organization brings to the arena of bilateral trade relations is a meaningful step in the ability for the CCCCD to assist parties from both countries to succeed in real business ventures. Our organization is extremely pleased with this recognition. Other Government Officials from all three levels in Alberta also echoed these sentiments.
Our Steering Committee consisted of representatives from three levels of Canadian Government, Corporate Canada, and institutional stakeholders. Members of the Committee are:
Jonathan Dai, President
Canada-China Council for Cooperation and Development
Altaf Ebrahim, Executive Director,
Canada-China Council for Cooperation and Development
Colin Campell, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada
David Corbett, Ministry of Economic Development, Government of Alberta
John Faber, Western Economic Diversification, Government of Canada
George Fu, Howlund International Corp.
Kent McMullin, Economic Development Edmonton
Dee Pannu, Industry Canada, ITC
Murray Rasmusson, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Marvin Schneider, Ministry of International & Intergovernmental Relations, Government of Alberta
Val Larsen, Alberta Centre for International Education
Behrooz Sadre-Hashemi, International Events Management Consultant
Xia Chengkai, Consul, Science & Technology, Consulate General of the Public of China in Calgary
Tulio Conejeros, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Fayi Chow, City of Edmonton
Weixi Chow, Eneri Asset Management and Investment, Inc.
Qing Tan, Canada-China Council for Cooperation and Development
Haibin Yang, Canada-China Council for Cooperation and Development
Our conference was the benefactor of tremendous promotional efforts by the Steering Committee. Our promotional efforts concentrated on our target market of potential exporter and current exporters to the China market. Potential delegates received information about the conference, through a wide range of methods including, fax, E-mail, direct mail, or personal call. Although the CCCCD received a great deal of support in this regard, we feel that there should have bee greater direct participation by Canadian companies. Canadian corporate participation was lacking but those that did attend found meaningful dialogue and genuine interest in establishing relations that could potentially lead to constructive deals.
The CCCCD feels that there were some significant factors that led to lower Canadian registration than expected. Although the Canada-China Council for Cooperation and Development has been operational for the past four and half years, this event was the first major undertaking on a national level. The CCCCD, prior to the conference had done very little by way of promoting itself to the greater Canadian exporting community. The results from the promotion of this first initiative, although favorable, were affected by Canadian exporters’ unfamiliarity with what the CCCCD represents and its function relating to bilateral trade and export development. There are also issues regarding the timing of the event and the limited time in which this conference was produced. The event took place just prior to Thanksgiving long weekend. Moreover, the conference development took place in a short time frame of five months, whereas, similar international event planning usually takes one year. These reasons may also have an impact on the conference registration. The tragic international events on September 11, 2001 also had an obvious impact on registration. In fact, the CCCCD took calls from individuals that believed our conference was canceled as a result. This belief stems from the fact that other international conference held across Canada about the same time were either postponed or canceled outright.
The following demonstrates the level of promotional work conducted by our partners.
Industry Canada - International Trade Centers (ITC) Alberta and in cooperation with the other Western Provinces sent out over 3600.
Western Economic Diversification sent some approx. 300 plus faxes.
Alberta Economic Development sent out approx. 300 plus faxes.
Economic Development Edmonton sent out approx. 1200 faxes.
HSBC sent out E-mail to its clientele informing them of the conference.
CMHC set out promotional brochures and e-mails to their export client lists
Over 4000 promotional brochures distributed over the course of 4 months to various institutions and individuals.
The CCCCD purchased target Fax services for the Oil & Gas and Agriculture sectors in Alberta over 1100 faxes sent out.
The CCCCD placed an ad in an Edmonton business trade paper.
In China, we established an office in Beijing with a Chief Representative for the CCCCD. Mr. Gao Xiang was responsible for liaison with the various Provincial Foreign Affairs Offices in China and recruiting delegates from West China. We also worked collaboratively with the Department of Foreign Affairs, International Trade (DFAIT). Minister Pierre Pettigrew sent letters to each of the 12 Governors for West China encouraging them to attend and to bring or send delegations from their provinces to the conference. As indicated, 48 delegates came from China; however, some 65 delegates that either received visas or had delays in the visa approval process did not attend the conference. We are confident in saying that approximately 55 of these would have attended had it not been for the events of September 11, 2001. The timing of this tragedy coincided within three weeks of the conference in which time the world was in a state of shock, panic, and fear. The Chinese Central Government announced strong warnings to all government employees and citizens to refrain from traveling to North America if possible. More than half the delegates took the advice of their government. As a true testament to the eagerness of West China to do business, the Governor of Xinjang and his delegation of 35 came with the approval from the office of the Premier of China. On this note, there should be special mention of the tremendous efforts of the Canadian Embassy in Beijing to assist with visa processing. Although the Chinese delayed in submitting their applications the Immigration Section headed by Mr. David Manicom, and other Officials (Mr. David Wong, Mr. Craig Wilson, Mr. David Hamilton) at the Embassy were cooperative and supportive of the conference.
The CCCCD is very grateful to the Sponsors of the Conference. Our Premier Sponsor was Western Economic Diversification. Minister Ron Duhamel, his Staff, and the Department Officials that worked on the project showed incredible insight in their support for this conference. WD’s participation is testimony to the understanding by the Government of Canada, of the need to help business reach new markets and diversify so that the Canadian economy can grow. The CCCCD would also like to thank and acknowledge Alberta Economic Development for its contribution and for the recognition that this unique event helped to highlight Alberta’s flourishing economy and its diversity. The City of Edmonton’s contribution to this project was also significant. Edmonton is known for is favorable climate to new business and that we are currently enjoying the best urban economy in Canada. Economic Development Edmonton has been the driving force of this success. Their willingness to get involved shows the commitment to this success. Our Corporate Sponsor was HSBC Bank Canada. Having had a long tradition in China HSBC was a natural partner for the CCCCD. The support from this institution served to highlight the importance of the conference and to recognize that both Canada and China business communities need the support of strong financial institutions in order to conduct business. HSBC is such an institution committed to the success of Canadian business in the China market.
The initial reaction to the conference although positive indicated to us as organizers that there was room for improvement. Holding the event on the days before an important Canadian national holiday, may have not been the best timing. However, the problem that the CCCCD faced was one of space at the Shaw Convention Center. The only time available in October was on the dates on the conference. If the conference were held in September, there would not have been enough time to prepare and promote. If the conference were in November, cold weather would effect Chinese delegate registration.
Although the Conference targeted a broad range of sectors of the economy that were relevant to the development of West China, the argument could be made that a conference could be better served by focusing on one or two sectors. The CCCCD will review this for consideration and work with a new Steering Committee to make the appropriate decision. The CCCCD plans to host another West China Meets Western Canada Conference and with 10 months lead-time before the next conference the CCCCD is confident that we will be able to promote the conference to prospective delegates much earlier. This should then lead to earlier registration and larger numbers of delegates. The CCCCD also hopes to confirm a number of speakers well in advance. Confirming high profile guests or institutions can also assist with the promotion and registration. We also hope that we are able to attract new sponsors while retaining sponsors that showed their support for the CCCCD and the initial conference.
It is always nice to hear that a job was well done and that one can derive satisfaction from the efforts put into making something a reality. The CCCCD initiated an enormous undertaking with a limited amount of time and resources. The conference then faced the challenges from the most serious international threat since World War II only weeks prior and was still able to host a delegation from China and across Canada. This shows the strength of our organization and commitment by our Steering Committee and determination of delegates to continue with the building of international business relations. The CCCCD has been in consultation with a number of the participants and institutions that attended the conference. The following are the types of comments that we have received:
“On behalf of SERDA Inc., I would like to congratulate you on the success of the West China Meets Western Canada Conference. I felt that it was a very useful and effective forum for meeting potential partners from China”
Danea Armstrong, Manager of Investment Attraction, Saskatoon Regional Development Authority Inc.
“Just a note to congratulate you on the success of the West China Meets Western Canada Trade and Investment Conference. While I was not able to attend all the events, I gained a great deal of relevant information from those I did attend, made some excellent contacts and enjoyed the experience.”
Jim Dangerfield, Vice President, Western Division
Forintek Canada Corp.
We have received a positive, enthusiastic reaction from all those that we have spoken to since the conference. This reaction has given us a great deal of confidence to host another conference and that it will lead to even greater success than the first.
The Canada-China Council for Cooperation and Development was fortunate to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Education for Xinjang. This was a general agreement to further dialogue on the possibility of collaboration on education and training projects with this Provincial Chinese Government Department. The CCCCD has begun this dialogue and hopes that it will lead to partnerships between various Canadian Educational Institutions and Xinjiang.
There were Chinese companies that were able to see the potential in the Alberta economy and are seeking to invest in project development in this Province. The Xinjiang International Industry Co., Ltd. is interested in the possible investment of capital to build an agriculture related project. The Shanghai Huiyou Anticorrosion Technology and Engineering Co. Ltd. has a revolutionary technology that has specific application to the Alberta Oil and Gas Industry and to pipe development. This organization is ultimately interested in the building a production facility in Edmonton or Calgary. The CCCCD will monitor the progress of these projects for future reporting. These examples of companies conducting real business and establishing relationships shows the value to Canadian business and in turn to the Canadian economy, of such a venture.
Since the conference, CMHC, one of our key Patrons, has been in China with a group of 20 Canadian contracting and construction related companies. The CCCCD through the network that it has developed from the conference initiative was able to help this group meet with senior officials of the 2008 Olympic Organizing Committee. This committee is responsible for capital projects for the 2008 Olympic Games to be held in Beijing. Our hope is that Canadian companies can participate in the capital projects that will total an estimated $35 Billion US.
“I would like to thank the Canada China Council for Cooperation and Development for inviting me to speak here today, and all those that have contributed to making the event a success, particularly, the many sponsors. Finally, I note the important role that your organizations are playing in furthering Canada’s bilateral relationships with China. Organizations like yours through your extensive experience and personal contacts, constitute one of the most important catalysts for Canada’s Asia-Pacific trade, not only do you promote Canadian exports and thus create jobs in Canada, but also you achieve similar objectives for our partner – China. Our relations in trade and investment also provide a strong bridge for people-to-people linkages that helps spread and sustain universal human values and promote a better quality of life for all – a genuine and legitimate universal human aspiration, and therefore, a very laudable economic objective.”
Hon. Dr. Ray Pagtakhan, Secretary for Asia-Pacific
The conference was a starting point for the Council’s activities in promoting and fostering bilateral relations between Canadian and Chinese business leaders. We are very proud to say that the conference was a tremendous success. It identified a viable potential market for Canadian businesses and at the same time demonstrated to our Chinese partners that Canada is one of the world’s best sources of expertise, technology, products and services in all sectors of the economy. Canada is also one of the world’s premier locations for international investment. In the past, China has relied heavily on international investment through capital or infrastructure development. That is slowly changing with the emergence of a strong middle class in China. Chinese investors now have capital, and are seeking to invest their money in Canada because of our favorable economic climate. The CCCCD saw this dialogue first hand.
This conference was initiated as a follow-up to Team Canada’s mission to China in February 2001. This trade mission was a tremendous success. However, Canadian business participants required a large capital investment and time commitment away from their businesses. Our organization aimed to bridge this gap and find an alternative for Canadian businesses to interact with Chinese business leaders and decision-makers. By bring those Chinese corporate and government decision-makers to Canada, the CCCCD managed to assist Canadian businesses in a number of ways:
Expensive international travel costs eliminated
Drastic reduction in time away from one’s business
The ability for potential clientele to see products / facilities on site
Providing a familiar working business environment
The conference managed to assist in these ways and more, thus making it a success. The conference also assisted in the Council’s ability to achieve its mandate goals. Several Canadian bilateral trade agencies and associations conduct relevant work on this front. However, it is our hope that the CCCCD will grow to become a well known and trusted institution that Canadian businesses and government can count on, to help them in seeking and securing access to the ever increasing China market.
The CCCCD is pleased to indicate that a similar conference will take place in September 2002, in Alberta with a location to be confirmed. With over ten months to prepare versus five months previously, and with the fact that we have had the experience of this conference, the CCCCD is in a much better position to undertake this venture again. We are confident of the success of the next ‘West China Meets Western Canada Conference’.
Initiatives like this will only serve to raise the profile of the importance of furthering Canada-China business relations. We welcome the opportunity to work with other institutions, government agencies, and departments and with a broader corporate export community in Canada. The CCCCD looks forward to working with those newly interested parties and with those that have been supporting us in the past.