Building on recently announced partnerships, the City of Ottawa is planning its largest trade delegation to China.
© Mark Holleron
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson tours Cisco's Kanata facilities.
The trip, which Mayor Jim Watson will lead, is intended to create new business opportunities for Ottawa companies, especially those in the high-tech sector, and to promote the city as a destination for tourism and education.
The delegation will be in Beijing and Shanghai from October 12 to 20.
Representatives of over 40 businesses and other groups are scheduled to be part of the trip. Among them will be delegates from the city’s economic development agencies, school board, the University of Ottawa and Algonquin College.
“We are going on this mission with a view to establishing a new set of economic and social objectives with our sister city Beijing,” said Mr. Watson in a statement.
“Our relationship with China is strong and we must reinforce that strategically and innovatively by exploring new ideas and opportunities with each other. I am very optimistic about the possibilities.”
Ottawa and Beijing have sister cities since 1999, an agreement Mr. Watson signed during his previous term.
The visit will see the Ottawa delegation meet with civic leaders in both cities, visit high-tech companies and institutions as well as put on a trade show. The National Arts Centre Orchestra is also scheduled to perform in Beijing.
The trip is particularly focused on encouraging tourism and recruiting international students, efforts that are designed to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017.
According to the city, Ottawa Tourism has developed several linkages with Beijing-based businesses and tourism promotion efforts. Invest Ottawa has also established a partnership with China’s state-owned Zhongguancun Development Group to export local technology to Asia.
"The economic opportunity in China for Ottawa firms is enormous,” said Saad Bashir, director of the City of Ottawa’s economic development and innovation department in the press release.
“And in order for this opportunity to flourish, we must continue establishing strong personal relationships with our Chinese counterparts.”