Canada pushes for energy trade with Asia

April 5, 2013 at 2:02 PM
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia, April 5 (UPI) -- Canada will send a trade mission to China and Japan next week to promote the North American country as an energy superpower, a government official announced.

"We are on the cusp of an exciting new era of Canada-Asia Pacific trade and cooperation, one that has the potential to completely remake the global energy dynamic in a positive way," said Ed Fast, Canada's minister of international trade at the Pacific Energy Summit in Vancouver, the Financial Post reports.

"Canada is uniquely positioned to be a leader in this energy revolution," he said.

Fast said that he and Minister of State Alice Wong will lead a trade mission to Japan and China next week with executives from 19 companies among the delegation.

"In short, Asia needs Canada's energy resources and Canada is uniquely positioned to deliver those resources," Fast said.

"Canada boasts an incredible abundance of energy assets and a corresponding desire to sell them at their highest value; on the other, we have an exploding demand for energy from China, Japan, South Korea, India and other Asian countries," he said.

However, Fast stressed that Canada's trade relationship with the United States will still be dominant, making it "imperative" that the Keystone XL pipeline between Alberta and the U.S. Gulf be constructed to ensure its energy security.

William Colton, vice president, Corporate Strategic Planning for Exxon Mobil Corporation, in his speech praised Canada's approach to opening up its energy markets, citing Canada's "one project, one review" policy as evidence of a government facilitating investment, The Vancouver Observer reports.

"You really need to have a thriving free market and free trade rules to facilitate the movement of all these energy supplies around the world," he said.

U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson, who attended the summit, told The Vancouver Sun that stronger Canadian trade relations with Asia don't pose a threat to the United States, which is Canada's largest trading partner.

Jacobson characterized Canada's focus on building liquefied natural gas facilities in British Columbia for Asian markets as competition based on economics as opposed to a race between the two countries.

"As long as the competition is fair, we are prepared to let the chips fall as they may," Jacobson said.

For its part, Japan -- the world's biggest importer of liquefied natural gas -- is prepared to invest billions directly in natural gas infrastructure in Western Canada in order to secure massive supplies of liquefied natural gas to replace nuclear power, said Tadashi Maeda, managing executive officer of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, reports the Financial Post.

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