Minister of state promotes foreign trade in Surrey

Diane Ablonczy, federal Minister of State of Foreign Affairs will visit Surrey Wednesday.

Diane Ablonczy, federal Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (for the Americas and Consular Affairs) – currently in B.C. as part of a tour of Western Canada  – will visit Surrey Wednesday.

Her itinerary will include a stop at the Peace Arch border crossing, a meeting with Mayor Dianne Watts and city staff, and a round-table meeting hosted by the Surrey Board of Trade.

It’s a multiple-purpose visit, the Calgary-Nose Hill MP explained in a phone interview Friday.

in addition to a dialogue with Surrey business people currently doing – or seeking to enter – trade with Latin America (Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela), Ablonczy is seeking to promote the consular side of her portfolio, including a newly updated website, www.travel.gc.ca, which offers assistance to Canadians planning to visit or work in other countries.

“The opportunities are enormous for trade with the Americas,” Ablonczy said, noting Canada has seven existing trade agreements with the region, plus nine foreign investment participation agreements in the process of being worked out.

“We see in that part of the world a growing middle class, and countries like Brazil are putting in some enormous infrastructure developments as they know it’s in their interest to open up their markets,” Ablonczy said.

“One can’t overstate the resource richness of the Americas – in Bolivia, for example a significant percentage of the resources haven’t been mapped.”

At the same time, Ablonczy said, the federal government is mindful that cultural differences can pose obstacles, and business relationships don’t happen overnight.

Canadian investors demand security and stability in the countries they deal with, she said, as well as assurances that human rights and democratic institutions are being respected and that “justice, legal and security systems are in place.”

Canada does a great deal of advocacy in this regard with potential trading partners, she added, as well as investing in international security programs.

Gathering feedback from business people who currently or potentially trade with the Americas is an important part of the process, Ablonczy said, and that’s part of her mandate in field trips such as the one to Surrey.

“There’s generally a real excitement and a great deal of interest,” she said.

“There’s a demand for more flights (to these countries) and a demand for more contacts, but business is also applauding our efforts in encouraging other countries in protecting the environment and protecting human rights. You can’t have a good place to have business investment unless the environment is respected and human rights are respected.”

Ablonczy said her department’s updated website for travellers recognizes that travel abroad has become a significant part of the experience of Canadians.

“Last year, there were 56 million trips out of Canada – and that’s with a country of some 33 million people,” she said.

The revamped website aims to centralize information that will help Canadian citizens and permanent residents – whether business people, holiday makers or students on field trips or exchanges – to travel to other countries without problems and with a minimum of red tape.

“It’s a one-stop shop for information,” she said. “We want people to travel, and have a safe and happy experience.”

The round table meeting at the Surrey Board of Trade offices (101 – 14439 104 Ave.) will take place 10-11 a.m. and is open to the public (participants should arrive by 9:50 a.m.).

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A heavy police presence was on scene on Dec. 28, 2017 following the shooting death on Bates Road in Abbotsford of Alexander Blanarou, 24, of Surrey. (Abbotsford News file photo)
Three men charged with Abbotsford shooting death of Surrey man

Alexander Blanarou, 24, was killed in a rural area on Dec. 28, 2017

A criminal trial for Robert Boule (inset), the owner of the Smuggler’s Inn, is to begin in August 2021, following a failed application to strike down immigration-act provisions that he is charged under. (Photo courtesy of The Northern Light newspaper)
Blaine inn owner’s challenge of immigration act fails

Robert Boule’s trial on human-smuggling charges set to begin August 2021

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

Mirandy Tracy, left, and Tara Kurtz are two Langley mothers who are organizing a "sick out" for Tuesday, Dec. 1 to protest COVID conditions in schools. They're calling for masks and smaller class sizes, among other things. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Politician, labour leader throw support behind student Sick Out day

Langley parents started the movement to keep kids home on Dec. 1 as a protest

A family emerged with a purchase at the Tannenbaum Tree Farm at 5398 252 St in Aldergrove on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
Christmas tree season is off to an early start

People are ‘bored’ with staying home due to COVID-19 and want to decorate early, farm owner believes

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A convoy of seven pickup trucks, six of which were hauling boats, makes its way around the Chilliwack Law Courts on Dec. 1, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
First court date for Fraser River anglers ticketed during demonstration fishery

Convoy of trucks circled the courthouse in downtown Chilliwack Tuesday honking their support

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Most Read