Western Economic Diversification Canada
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WD undertakes and supports research and analysis activities that link to the Government of Canada's commitment to enhancing international trade and investment. By investing in research that focuses on the unique economic opportunities in each western region, the department is well-positioned to make strategic investments that maximize the trade and investment benefits for western Canadian economy.

Seizing opportunities in Latin America and the Caribbean

A new research study, prepared by North West International Ltd., suggests there are important opportunities for Western Canada to enhance bilateral trade and investment with the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region.

The study, Western Canada and Latin America: Existing and Potential Commercial Relationships, found that increased economic growth and stability, and improved social conditions, are making many countries in the LAC region more attractive for international involvement. In particular, Chile and Brazil were identified as promising markets for western Canadian businesses in a wide range of industry sectors.

New opportunities for environmental technologies

Although western Canadian trade with LAC is currently dominated by agricultural commodities, new opportunities are emerging. Advancements in Latin America's mining and energy sectors are creating demand for western Canadian expertise in advanced oil and gas recovery technologies, equipment and support services. And, as environmental awareness in the region grows, the West's strength in environmental technologies such as fuel cells and biofuels is of increasing interest. Additional opportunities exist in a variety of science and technology sectors including aerospace, aquaculture, ocean technologies, geomatics and vaccines.

Canada is working diligently to strengthen trade with Latin American countries through Government of Canada's Global Commerce Strategy (see sidebar). The Latin America and Caribbean region is one of the priority markets for the Strategy, which is helping Canadian businesses capitalize on new market opportunities around the world. The region is also a priority for WD, which works to enhance the participation of western Canada's small and medium-sized enterprises in key export markets.

Western Canada and Latin America: Existing and Potential Commercial Relationships, and other WD-supported economic research, can be accessed from the WD website.

Canada's Global Commerce Strategy

The federal government is investing $50 million a year through a comprehensive plan that will:

  • improve Canada's competitive position by facilitating the exchange of investment capital, innovation and talent between Canada and the rest of the world,
  • connect businesses to global markets by re-aligning and equipping Canada's international network to provide services that meet the needs of modern, internationally-engaged firms, and
  • strengthen access to global markets and networks through a renewed international negotiations agenda.

In 2008, the Global Commerce Strategy made significant progress in securing access to Latin American markets with the signing of Free Trade Agreements with Columbia and Peru. A series of memorandums of understanding were also completed with Chile that will increase cooperation in areas including investment and science and technology.