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Investing in Trade Opportunities

Bob Wilds, Managing Director, GVGC; Minister Stockwell Day; MP Alice Wong; and MP Cathy McLeod following the Greater Vancouver Gateway Council funding announcement in July 2009.

Bob Wilds, Managing Director, GVGC; Minister Stockwell Day; MP Alice Wong; and MP Cathy McLeod following the Greater Vancouver Gateway Council funding announcement in July 2009.

Western entrepreneurs have a wide-range of innovative products to bring to market, but, unfortunately, do not always have the resources to identify and connect their products to foreign markets. That’s why WD is bringing the world to the West.

In July 2009, WD made an investment of $230,000 toward the Greater Vancouver Gateway Council – a non-profit organization focused on positioning Greater Vancouver as the Gateway of Choice for North America – for a series of studies focused on the air cargo trade.

Our Government is working to open new markets for Canadian business, and strengthening British Columbia’s trade corridors is part of this ambitious trade agenda,” said Minister Day. “We’re building a more competitive economy and creating new jobs and opportunities in the region.

As the first of their kind, the studies will provide local airports and industry with the information required to increase air cargo trade through B.C.’s Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, and support efforts to translate cargo market opportunities into positive economic impacts for the region.

Until recently, Pacific Gateway initiatives have focused on marine, road, and rail modes. Air cargo is important to the Gateway and has often been the forgotten mode. The potential growth in this industry will benefit not just to the Vancouver International Airport or the Abbotsford Airport, but also logistics and support firms (trucking, warehousing, etc.), their customers (manufacturers, purchasers, etc.), and the region more broadly. Increased air cargo capacity can also have an impact on investment attraction and tourism.

This project will help build on the Council’s proven track record of supporting Canada’s position in the Gateway economy.

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Investing in the Productivity, Competitiveness and Potential of the West

Canada’s western provinces must foster innovation and encourage the adoption of new technologies in order to help stimulate productivity, says a new report by the Conference Board of Canada. released in June 2009, Western Canada: Productivity, Competitiveness and Potential explores the linkages between productivity growth and increased investment towards innovation and new technologies.

Greater investment towards new technology in the West will be a key driver behind future productivity. the report notes that the united states’ investments in research and development, and venture capital investment, currently put Western Canada at a competitive disadvantage.

To stay competitive over the long term, western provinces must improve organizational practices, increase global integration, strengthen human capital, and improve the business environment. In addition, continued expansion of internal trade agreements would help create a business environment more conducive to investment, innovation, and increased productivity.

The report concludes that the West has great potential, but the four Western provinces must proactively design and implement solutions to competitiveness and growth challenges.

Consult the full report: Western Canada: productivity, Competitiveness and Potential.

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Learning About Free Trade Zones

The world is coming closer together and nowhere is this more evident than in the tremendous expansion of free trade zones. The International Labour Organization estimates that in 1975, about 800,000 people were employed in Free Trade Zones. By 2007, that number had ballooned to 63 million people.

Free Trade Zones (FTZ) are typically defined as secured areas where goods can be stored or processed without customs duties, excise or inventory/ other taxes. Although FTZ’s around the world differ from one another, they generally have: advanced infrastructure, land, office space, utilities, logistics services, business services, and other similar facilities.

In October 2008, WD published a Free Trade Zone Study produced by Deloitte & Touche to review and identify the similarities and differences of select Free Trade Zones around the world.

The review encompassed 11 Free Trade Zones, with five located in the United States. For each zone, the report provides an overview, description of key infrastructure, and a summary of the key sectors in operation.

The Phoenix FTZ, for example, exhibits many strong characteristics. Its four key sectors – aerospace manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, food, and electronics – benefit from a sound infrastructure base with access to road, rail, and air transportation. The Phoenix FTZ is supported by an established financial network that provides a wide range of financial services in the area.

According to the study, Free Trade Zones can help stimulate economic diversification, attract foreign direct investment and create employment.