I see that Canada is opening up six new trade offices in China. I guess if you are from New Brunswick (and the Maritimes) you could see this one of two ways. If you are a pessimist you will wonder why the government of Canada is spending millions on new trade offices to support trade that generates almost no economic benefit at all to the Maritime Provinces. If you are an optimist, you will say that this means finally that New Brunswick will be able to start penetrating this vast market with the help of the federal government.
You know my opinion on this. I think that Canada’s 100+ trade offices around the world generate almost no benefit to Atlantic Canada and I think that most economic developers here would agree. I think we need our own offices – maybe co-located with the federal offices where it makes sense – to do both trade development and investment attraction activities. As for China? Minister Day says “China is a looking for farm products, machinery and equipment, as well as help in building infrastructure.” I’m not sure New Brunswick is particularly strong in any of those areas.
Exports to China (2008) – % Distribution by Province