Dear CanCham Members and Friends of Canada-Singapore relations.
We start our new fiscal year as a trade war between U.S. and China looms and where, like others in the region, we are exposed to the high risk of collateral damage.
What does this mean for Canadian business and our presence in Singapore? I will borrow the title of a recent speech by Singapore's Foreign Minister at Washington's Centre for International Studies: "Opportunity in Disruption".
ASEAN economic growth offers immense opportunities for Canada, even more so as global production appears to be shifting to the region. Canada is a recognized source of the technologies that are shaping the new economic landscape; AI, fintech, blockchain, aerospace and clean tech. Regional infrastructure and business is providing new opportunities for Canadian capital. There is an ever growing demand for our seafood and agricultural products. And Canada is still a great place to study, to visit and to live and work.
But like Singapore, Canada's economy is trade dependent, and our interests are best served in a multilateral world. To this end, our Government has been working hard to secure opportunities for Canada in trade agreements such as CP-TPP. We have seen recent visits from our Prime Minster, and Canada's new Minister for Trade Diversification and many government and provincial senior officials. Global Affairs has strengthened its Trade Commissioner Service. In the recent budget, Canada announced a programme to assist Canadian SME's identify, secure and protect their intellectual property when going abroad. Singapore was also selected as one of the three Asian locations for a Canadian Technology Accelerator, aimed at helping Canadian technology with an existing technology, product or service explore opportunities in foreign markets. During the past twelve months the Provinces of Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta have all opened offices in Singapore. Canadian business is also well served by Canadian institutions. Export Development Canada (EDC), the major Canadian Banks (CIBC, RBC, Scotiabank, TD), the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) are all present as active members of the Chamber and on our Executive Committee.
During the coming year, the Chamber will be working hard to support our members' realize these opportunities and to attract and support new Canadian business to the region.
We fully understand networking is a key value proposition of Chamber membership. As such, we will be providing more opportunities for members to grow and enhance their networks. We will work hard to expand our membership into an even more inclusive and dynamic whole. We will strengthen our links to other regional Chambers. Together with the High Commission, we will provide more opportunities for members to showcase their products and services. We will support and celebrate our great women entrepreneurs and professionals. We will solicit members' suggestions for talks, articles and presentations of shared value and work to realize these. Through our members' views and experiences, we hope to contribute a better understanding of the region's rapidly changing business and economic landscape.
In this, we will be building on the firm foundations and enormous contributions of our past Presidents Rohan Beliappa and Marlene Han, supported by our very able Executive Director Chelsea Guy, our Chairman Ian Wilson and our outstanding Executive Committee, who together have created among the most vibrant and recognized business associations in the region. With their continuing support, we all look forward to working with you and for you in the coming year.
And as Canadians, have a little fun in the process.