June 03, 2013 – MONCTON, NB: Atlantic Canada’s ocean technology sector had the opportunity to welcome Chinese entrepreneurs, researchers and educators during a week-long visit. It was an opportunity to do business in the world’s second largest economy.

The 26-member delegation, which arrived on June 1, is on a familiarization tour to explore development potential for China’s burgeoning ocean industry. For their Atlantic Canadian hosts, this incoming trade mission is a chance to showcase the region’s ocean technology expertise and make contacts with potential buyers, trade partners and researchers, with an eye toward collaborating on research, increasing their export sales, and expanding their international presence.

“Atlantic Canada has a longstanding history of making the most of what its ocean shores have to offer, and we have developed a very strong ocean technology sector,” said the Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of National Revenue and Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. “This visit provides an exceptional opportunity to showcase Atlantic Canada’s industry expertise, raise its international profile and form alliances that will help increase innovation and research and development partnerships, create jobs and strengthen our economy.”

Many experts see a booming future for China’s ocean technology sector. By the end of 2020, the gross domestic product of China’s marine industries, including offshore oil and gas exploration, marine transport, coastal tourism, fisheries and shipbuilding, is expected to exceed $814 billion US, according to China’s Ocean Development Report for 2011.

“China, one of the largest markets in the world, is just beginning to explore the potential of the ocean technology sector, and Atlantic Canadian companies are ready to provide technology, services, and expertise in an ever expanding world market. These meetings will help them do just that,” Minister Shea added.

The delegates visiting Atlantic Canada this week are from two of China’s marine economic zones – Guangdong and Shandong – as well as from the region of Shanghai, and represent a cross-section of universities and research institutes, as well as private sector companies. Their six-day tour, which ends June 8, includes meetings and presentations in all four Atlantic provinces that will demonstrate the region’s capabilities and resources in the ocean technology sector. Visits are planned to major research centres in St. John’s and Holyrood, in Newfoundland and Labrador; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Saint Andrews, New Brunswick; and Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Meetings have also been arranged with a variety of Atlantic Canadian ocean technology companies.

To follow up on contacts made during this visit, a mission is planned to Oceanology International China 2013, to be held from September 3 to 5, in Shanghai. The mission will be funded through the Canada-Atlantic Provinces Agreement on International Business Development, an agreement between the Government of Canada and the four provincial governments in Atlantic Canada.

A 2012 study of China’s ocean technology market, commissioned by the Government of Canada and the four Atlantic provincial governments, found that the country is taking an unprecedented look at economic growth opportunities in its ocean environment. This same study found that Atlantic Canadian companies have the technology, services and expertise to help develop China’s ocean technology industry.

China, the world’s second largest economy, is the most populous country in the world, with approximately 1.34 billion people. China also ranks fourth among the world’s biggest importers, underlining the country’s huge appetite for a wide range of raw materials and intermediate products.

There are some 140 companies active in Atlantic Canada’s vibrant ocean technology industry, generating over $1 billion in sales annually. The region is home to a wide range of scientific and engineering expertise, including shipbuilding, ocean observation, ocean mapping, charting, cold water engineering and geophysical surveying.

The mission is being organized by the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Innovation, Business and Rural Development and is supported by an investment of nearly $85,000 from ACOA’s Business Development Program.

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INFORMATION:

Sophie Doucet
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Gail Shea (ACOA)
613-851-2955

Natalie Belliveau
Senior Communications Officer
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
506-851-2085
natalie.belliveau@acoa-apeca.gc.ca