Alberta’s importance to China is apparent when considering that three-quarters of that country’s $50 billion Canadian investment is tied to this province.
That $37 billion Alberta investment is backed up by trade volumes that last year topped $6 billion, largely comprised of Canadian exports.
“That shows the importance we attach to our relationship and to our collaboration,” said Wang Xinping, China’s consul general in Calgary.
Red Deer’s significant role in the province’s economy is not lost on Wang, who visited the city on Friday to meet local players in politics, business, economic development and education in a sit-down meeting at city hall.
Wang, who has been in his Calgary-based post for five months, soon became aware of the city’s strategic location and a local tie to the China National Petroleum Corporation.
A meeting with local chamber of commerce representatives at a China-Canada Business Association luncheon set the gears in motion for this visit.
The goal of his visit has been to learn more about the area and see what cultural links and business opportunities are available to promote the friendship between the two nations.
He believes Red Deer will prove a good location for investment and plans to do more homework.
“I’m not sure what I can do at this moment. With my knowledge going wider and deeper and more accurate I can, in due time, give suggestions and advice to our commercial and industry people.”
Red Deer MP Earl Dreeshen visited China last fall as part of a state visit.
Alberta, and its role in the energy sector, as well as in education and research and innovation, are very much on the radar screens of Chinese investors, he said.
Dreeshen and Red Deer South MLA and minister of international and intergovernmental relations Cal Dallas, who was in China as part of a trade mission last month, have promoted Red Deer and Central Alberta. Face-to-face meetings, whether in China or here at home, are important in making connections, he said.
Red Deer Chamber of Commerce executive director Tim Creedon said one of the focuses of regional economic development group Central Alberta: Access Prosperity, of which the chamber is part, is developing trade links with China.
“We’re very keen to welcome Chinese investors and exporters and people interested in working with our businesses to Red Deer,” said Creedon.
“We feel this is a good way to build a bridge into the consul general’s office.”