You are here: Home › A Trans-Pacific Partnership with Asia

A Trans-Pacific Partnership with Asia

By Philippe Le Saux
-    Jul 09, 2015
Credit : GMI Post

While Canada traces back its commercial ties to Asia-Pacific to the late 19th century, the country’s commitment to the region has never been stronger, judging by the number of trade partnerships entered just in the last 25 years.

Participating already in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and in talks for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Canada has signed separate sweeping free trade agreements with Japan, India and South Korea, as well as the Foreign Investment Protection Agreement (FIPA) with China.

Ontario Minister for Economic Development Brad Duguid

“The priority now is to sustain the relationship with our Asian counterparts through a constant stream of communication and relationship building,” said Ontario Minister for Economic Development Brad Duguid.

Facilitating More Trade and Investment

According to the federal government’s “Global Markets Action Plan,” trade between Canada and the Asia-Pacific reached $156.9 billion last year, an increase of more than 30 percent over the past five years.

Then in March of this year, Canada opened North America’s first Chinese reminbi (RMB) clearing bank in the country’s financial capital, Toronto. As the only RMB hub in the Western Hemisphere, the institution represents another milestone in Canada’s ever-growing trade ties with China.

The agreement between Canada and China designated the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Canada (ICBC Canada) as the RMB clearing bank, which will handle and settle transactions between Canadian and Chinese businesses without having to use an intermediary currency, usually the U.S. dollar.

This RMB clearing hub agreement – a welcome move as it eliminates one layer in foreign trade transactions – also establishes a reciprocal credit line between central banks and sets up an investor quota that allows access to Chinese capital markets.

“This absolutely has the potential for being a game-changer in terms of Canadian-Chinese trade. We want to minimize currency risks as much as possible. It simply makes it easier to do business,” said Toronto Financial Services Alliance President and CEO Janet Ecker, who played a major role in bringing the RMB initiative to reality.

As the second-largest financial center in North America by employment, Toronto recognizes the potential benefits of increased engagement with Asia.

“Asia, without a doubt, represents the largest opportunity for Toronto in the global marketplace,” stressed Toronto Mayor John Tory.

Québec Premier Philippe Couillard

Beyond trade and finance, Canada and China have consolidated other connections as well. In May, Air Canada and Air China announced the launch of non-stop flights between Beijing and Montréal.

“A direct air route between Montréal and the Chinese capital is great news for the business community in Québec and Asia. (It) is a symbol of the strength of our growing relationship with Asia,” said Québec Premier Philippe Couillard.

“Bilateral trade between Québec and Asia is strong and shows the need for this direct air route. The total value of trade in Québec goods with Asia rose to $224.4 billion last year, an increase of 53 percent between 2005 and 2014. Québec’s exports to Asia grew more quickly during this period (more than 103 percent) than its imports (over 40 percent),” Couillard added.

Growth Thru Education and Innovation

As trade and investment remain important components of the relationship between Canada and Asia, education has become increasingly important as well.

Today, Asia-Pacific countries are among the ten biggest sources of foreign students in Canada: China (1st), India (2nd), Korea (3rd), and Japan (7th).

Perhaps, the attraction of Canada lies in the ethnic diversity found across the country, which many regard as one of the world’s most welcoming societies for immigrants.

As the number of partnerships between Canadian and Asian schools grows, so too does the collaboration between academics, researchers and innovators from both sides of the Pacific.

“The real end game [of collaboration] is the dialogue created between Asia and British Columbia. We want to open other doors that are maybe more lucrative in terms of returns for both sides: trade discussions, intellectual property opportunities, joint initiatives, education and health,” said British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) Vice-President Academics Bill Dow.

“All these open doors. Most people in the world speak a common language around those cornerstones. So, if we open with that conversation, we are supporting a much bigger agenda. Education provides a great beachhead to create a very different conversation,” Dow added.

Meanwhile, the city of Mississauga in Ontario has capitalized on its reputation as an education and innovation center to attract investment from all corners of the globe.

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie

For instance, Japan, Canada’s largest foreign direct investment partner in Asia, has over 300 Japanese subsidiaries in Canada, particularly in the automotive sector and many of which are based in Mississauga.

“Mississauga is home to 63 Fortune 500 companies, almost 60,000 businesses, and 1,400 multinational firms. Job creators choose Mississauga because of our highly educated workforce,” said Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie.

Looking Ahead

As opportunities multiply in a wide range of sectors like finance, tourism, mining, energy (both nuclear and renewable), natural gas, green technology, aerospace, information technology, mergers and acquisitions, and forestry, there is much optimism and excitement going around the public sector and the business community in Canada and Asia.

Canada has barely scratched the surface of Asia’s business landscape; just as China is only discovering the immense investment environment in Canada.

With so much that they already offer each other, this trans-Pacific partnership has begun reaping its rewards.

Visual elements make Japanese an easier language for those with dyslexia

Learning Japanese may seem daunting for those diagnosed with dyslexia, but it turns out that fundamentals of the language actually make it easier t...

The Evolving Military Balance in the Taiwan Strait

Panelists discuss the risk of an armed conflict between the United States and China over Taiwan and how the United States should adapt its defense ...

Young Professionals Briefing: The Future of Democracy Around the World

Panelists discuss democratic backsliding, the rights of marginalized populations living under authoritarian regimes, and the prospects for and obst...

U.S. lawmakers see path to rein in tech, but it isn’t smooth

The road ahead is likely to be a yearslong, complicated path toward new rules and regulations, with no guaranteed result.

Philippines' top EdTech startup secures Series A funding as it boosts reach and engagement

Edukasyon, the leading education technology platform in the Philippines, recently closed its Series A financing round, joined by Asian and European...

Japanese carmakers: A vital part of the U.S. economy

Over nearly four decades, Japanese-brand automakers have built up a vast American presence. It has made a cumulative manufacturing investment of ab...

Japanese real estate targeted by Chinese and Hong Kongers

As more people from overseas buy up land in Japan, authorities express frustration at potentially not being able to trace landowners when the need ...

Malaysia: A fresh start

Ten months since historic elections that rocked the nation’s political landscape, Malaysia, once again headed by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, i...

SilTerra: Defining tomorrow in Malaysia today

Globally ranked 16th by Gartner in the pure-play foundries category, SilTerra clearly punches above its weight. Originally set up in 1995 as a semi...

latest special Reports:

Upcoming Reports from

  • Global Media is your partner in reaching a powerful international audience through high-level economic reporting.

    Our ambition is to highlight under-reported developments and opportunities around the world, and allow leaders in these regions and sectors to take their message to the highest global level. We partner with top media to communicate with the world’s most powerful audiences. We specialize in communication and branding initiatives that help our clients effectively get their messages to their existing and potential partners. We achieve results for our clients by introducing them and their initiatives to an audience of elite international business and government leaders.

    Global Media Inc. is an independent media agency with offices in Hong Kong and Canada. GMI has more than a decade of experience in the writing, researching, and production of promotional country reports, with media partners from East Asia to North America. We have teams worldwide that develop country and thematic reports on the latest economic trends and developments.

    We are a media partner of Foreign Affairs,the United States’ most influential publication, published by the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations.

    Nearly a century old, there isn’t a more influential or higher-reaching publication in the United States than Foreign Affairs. The journal is ranked #1 in influence by U.S. opinion leaders in a recent nationwide study conducted by Erdos and Morgan, the premier business-to-business research firm. Their findings place Foreign Affairs ahead of all media, both print and broadcast, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and The Washington Post.


    “We were extremely impressed with how efficient, well-coordinated, responsive and reliable the Global Media Inc. team was. We owe them a lot for their professionalism. We were very pleased with the outcome, and the article was very well-written. We hope to have an opportunity to work with Global Media Inc. again in the near future.� – Japan Airport Terminal Co. Ltd.
    “The Global Media team’s professionalism was excellent. Their team was great and always gave us the right suggestions and information. The product was excellent, and we were very happy to have such a great opportunity working with their excellent team.â€� – National Graduate Institute of Policy Studies (GRIPS)
    “We were honored to be chosen as one of the good universities in Japan. This article conveyed Seigakuin University’s educational ideals and the message from President Akudo. The advertisement was conspicuous and gave a good impression that Seigakuin nurtured students to contribute to world peace. We really appreciated what Global Media Inc. had did for us.â€� – Seigakuin University

    Whom we have featured:

    • Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard
    • Australian Foreign Affairs Minister (and former Prime Minister) Kevin Rudd
    • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
    • Qatari Minister of International Trade and Industry Dato’ Sri Mustapa bin Mohamed
    • Japanese Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Yoshiaki Takaki
    • Taiwanese Foreign Minister Yang Chin-Tien
    • Taiwanese Finance Minister Lee Sush-Der
    • Taiwanese Economic Affairs Minister Shih Yen-Shiang
    • Taiwanese National Science Council Minister Lee Lou-Chuang,
    • Taiwanese Deputy Minister of Transport and Communications Yeh Kuang-Shih
    • Taiwanese Political Deputy Minister of Education Dr. Lin Tsong-Ming
    • Indonesian Ambassador to the United States Dr. Dino Patti Djalal
    • Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board Chairman Gita Wirjawan
    • Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III
    • Philippine Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile

Join our newsletter

Sign up for our weekly newsletter to get the latest news and updates directly to your inbox.