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China trip being planned to promote Atlantic Canada

— Submitted photo
— Submitted photo - The Telegram

Atlantic Growth Strategy builds with November trade mission

Premier Dwight Ball said Newfoundland and Labrador is all-in on the Atlantic Growth Strategy and will participate in a significant trade mission to China later this year.

The trip — to involve Atlantic-Canadian premiers and ministers, as well as federal representatives — is being planned to specifically promote investment in the region.

Trade missions to China have been undertaken in the past by groups from Newfoundland and Labrador, and the former Progressive Conservative government sent representatives to seek investment in oil, mining and the fishery, but the mission coming from the Atlantic Growth Strategy and premiers’ leadership will be different, Ball said.

“(Having) all the other Canadian partners, plus connecting the Canadian brand to it — it draws attention in China, plus gives you that much more weight,” he said, speaking with The Telegram by phone Tuesday.

In addition to known interests in seafood and minerals, Ball said the group will explore other areas for potential investment and mutual interest, including in agriculture, education and tourism.

The delegation is expected to include representatives from companies in this region that are looking to expand, with export-ready products and services. The political representatives participating will take part in pre-scheduled diplomatic exchanges and site visits, but an itinerary is still in development.

The trade mission was one of three items highlighted as coming from the latest meeting on the Atlantic Growth Strategy — a broad policy meant to improve co-operation between provinces and aid the regional economy.

The second item was an expansion of a pilot project in Nova Scotia under EduNova, the Study and Stay Pilot Program, to all of Atlantic Canada. It is aimed at attracting and retaining international post-secondary students by offering additional supports throughout their time as a student and into their early professional careers. Practically, it offers anything from workshops to career mentoring, adding to the existing programs and supports for students.

The program is now being tailored for each province.

Finally, the Atlantic Growth Advisory Group reported back to the Atlantic premiers on public consultations on the Atlantic Growth Strategy from the fall of 2017. Ten recommendations were put forward in the report.

Ball said recommendations around digital health and bringing more technology into the health system to improve health care outcomes were of particular interest.

Apart from these items, the ocean supercluster work and federal funding for industry-led research were a hot topic, as were advances in aligning more regulation across the Atlantic provinces.

“Our plan for investing in Atlantic Canada’s economy is already allowing us to empower local industries to develop new skills and innovate to compete in a global market,” MP Seamus O’Regan said in a statement on the latest meetings. “The Atlantic Growth Strategy remains an unparalleled initiative which will bring great results for the region.”

ashley.fitzpatrick@thetelegram.com

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