Trans-Pacific Partners: Strengthening Canada – Singapore Ties
This year marks Canada and Singapore’s fiftieth anniversary of diplomatic ties dating back to the founding of Singapore in 1965. Business relations between the two countries have been growing steadily since ties were established and both countries are actively exploring new opportunities to strengthen their economic partnership.
Flagship Canadian companies from Ontario and Quebec are leading the charge to strengthen ties between Canada and Singapore: insurance company, Manulife has been providing Singaporeans with life insurance coverage and wealth management services since 1980. Bombardier opened another office in Singapore to meet the increasing demand for commercial aircraft in the Southeast Asian region. Most recently, Canada’s largest software company, OpenText, has begun providing enterprise information management software to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
While east-coast based Canadian companies have been actively engaging with Singapore, British Columbia (BC) is positioning itself as the ‘Gateway to the Americas’ for Asian businesses.
Canada – The Honourable Teresa Wat, British Columbia Minister of International Trade and Minister Responsible for Asia Pacific Strategy and Multiculturalism and The Honourable Christy Clark, Premier of British Columbia
Since taking office in 2011, Premier Clark has been on several trade missions to countries across the Asian region including Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. These trade missions have already begun to bear fruit and the number of BC businesses active in Singapore and Southeast Asia is on the rise.
During her visit to Singapore, Premier Clark generated over 140 highly-paid skilled jobs for BC with the reopening of Paper Excellence Group’s Chetwynd pulp mill. On the same mission, Woodfiber LNG also signed a letter of intent to advance the company’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) production in BC.
“We cannot afford to overlook ASEAN,” says Teresa Wat, Minister of International Trade and Minister Responsible for Asia Pacific Strategy and Multiculturalism. “By 2050, ASEAN will have the fourth largest GDP in the world.”
In April, Minister Wat led a trade mission to Indonesia, the first by a BC trade minister to the ASEAN region. Minister Wat promoted the HQ Vancouver project, which aims to attract Asian businesses to the province.
The BC private sector is continuing to seek opportunities across Asia. Top Renergy Inc., a Vancouver-based venture capital firm is assisting entrepreneurs from Asia as they establish businesses in Canada.
Headquartered in Richmond, BC, Dr. Power is a world-leader in next generation lithium-ion technology batteries. The company chose Singapore as its maiden export market and is continuing to experience growth in Singapore and across the Asian region.
With the support of the Canadian business community, the Canada-Singapore Business Association (CSBA) was established in 1995. CSBA promotes bilateral commerce between the two countries by working closely with the local and federal governments of Canada and the Singaporean High Commission.
“We are here, ready to help in any way we can to promote better business relations between Canada and Singapore,” says Brian Cole, Chairman of CSBA.
Educational institutions are also involved in bringing Singapore and Canada together. Sprott Shaw College is expanding its Asian footprint by inviting students from the region to consider a college experience in Canada.
“We truly are blessed to have one of the largest Southeast Asian communities in the country. It’s a huge part of what gives British Columbia and Canada its unique identity. I can’t think of a more appropriate – or more Canadian – way to celebrate our national holiday,” says Premier Clark.