The Canadian government is pressing forward with its ambitious trade expansion program, hoping to boost activity through the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative.
In addition to meeting with Canadian businesses to sell the benefits of the program, Ed Fast, the government’s Asia-Pacific trade minister, is planning a trade mission to Asia in April.
Trade from Asia in the information technology and communications fields will help bolster Canadian businesses, Fast told the assembled industry leaders.
“Canada’s economy and future prosperity is our government’s top priority. That prosperity depends on increasing our exports in fast-growing and dynamic markets around the world,” he said. “The Asia-Pacific Gateway plays a key role in supporting our growing trade with Asia, while creating jobs and growth for local communities, as well as for Canada as a whole.”
The Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative dates to October 2006, when Prime Minister Stephen Harper pledged a series of investment and policy measures to boost Asia-Canada trade. When announced, the program was expected to cost $591 million.
With these investments, Harper anticipated container traffic at British Colombia ports would rise from between 9 to 14 percent by 2020, topping off at 7 million annual units.
"Improving our international transportation and trade links will lead to more business opportunities and jobs for British Columbians and all Canadians," Harper said at the time. "It will help us reclaim Canada’s role as a serious competitor and entrepreneurial leader in the world."
The latest investment project, the South Shore Corridor Project at Port Metro Vancouver, has commenced construction. The $75 million development will help ease congestion near the port’s terminals and railway corridor, export gateways that are critical to Asian trade. The government is funding $31 million of the project. - Jon Ross