The Asia Factor in Atlantic Canada: Project Summary Report

Executive Summary:

The Asia Pacific is in the midst of internal transitions that will see the region become an increasingly significant player on the global economic and political stage. Asia's prominence in a multipolar world will continue to rise in the decades to come. Atlantic Canada business and trade strategies will be under pressure to accommodate the growing economic and political weight of Asia.

Analysis by The Asia Factor in Atlantic Canada Project suggests the following actions could help grow Atlantic Canada's business presence in Asian markets:

• Further develop Atlantic Canada's gateways and corridors, and transform Canada into a gateway economy connecting Asia to the United States and Latin America;
• Support a single Canadian brand as a way to co-ordinate trade promotion activities across sectors;
• Help businesses better leverage the Trade Commissioner Service in Asia;
• Work with business associations in key sectors to improve use of government visits and trade missions for promoting Atlantic businesses;
• Convene workshops in Atlantic Canada that bring together successful companies to mentor new companies interested in and capable of engaging Asian markets;
• Actively support the development in the Atlantic provinces of a better understanding of Asia, also known as "Asia competency";
• Support a small and medium enterprise travel fund to sustain multiple visits to Asia;
• Set up Asia-entry marketing competitions that pair groups of Asia-competent students with local businesses; and,
• Support proactive measures for encouraging a broader understanding of the Trans-Pacific Partnership for Atlantic Canada.

The immense potential of Asian markets is alluring, but they are half a world away and Atlantic Canada needs to be smart about how best to approach these opportunities. Fundamentally, this summary report argues that the Atlantic provinces could benefit from focusing on bringing Asia to Atlantic Canada to stimulate exports, rather than taking Atlantic Canada to Asia. Also essential is increasing the awareness of Asia's growing importance within Atlantic Canada.

Atlantic Canadian resources cannot possibly help all the firms and sectors in the region engage with Asia simultaneously. Doing so would spread resources thin and not make significant inroads. Rather, the impact would be greater if the region's governments utilize a targeted, sequenced approach that prioritizes a small number of firms and/or two to four sectors at a time for several years, before moving onto other firms and/or sectors.

About The Asia Factor in Atlantic Canada

The objective of the Asia Factor in Atlantic Canada project is to assist the region in better responding to Asia's rising global economic importance by providing critical information on the opportunities and challenges for Atlantic Canadian business and trade with Asia. This project represents the Atlantic side of The Asia Factor, a nationwide, multi-year project launched in 2014 by the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (APF Canada) that examines the interaction of each province and territory with Asia. The Asia Factor provides comprehensive resources, information, and analysis on provincial-level Canada-Asia relations.

The Asia Factor in Atlantic Canada project deliverables include:

• an interactive website that shows how Asia's impact on Canada differs for each province and territory
• an infographic booklet on Atlantic Canada's relations with Asia according to key indicators (image files available upon request)
• blog posts
• a business consultation report
• success stories for Island Abbey Foods and Muwin Estate
• Atlantic Canada-Asia-focused market analyses for clean technology, value-added foods, and ocean technology
• a project summary report

All deliverables are available in both official languages.