Released on September 30, 2014
The Government of Saskatchewan has been presented with an ambitious set of recommendations aimed at dramatically enhancing this province’s engagement with Asia on matters of trade, investment, education and immigration.
Premier Brad Wall today received the final report of the Saskatchewan-Asia Advisory Council from the council’s co-chair, Grant Kook. The eight member council was established in May 2013 to provide advice to the government on how to best meet Saskatchewan’s ambitious trade expansion goals.
The report contains 45 recommendations on increasing Saskatchewan’s presence in Asian markets, facilitating more investment by Asian companies in the province, encouraging more Saskatchewan students to study, live and gain work experience overseas, and making the province the most welcoming jurisdiction in Canada for immigrants and international students.
“The members of the council have done an excellent job in analyzing the opportunities Saskatchewan has in Asia and the challenges it faces in realizing those opportunities,” Wall said. “I have been strongly advocating that Saskatchewan, and indeed Canada, must pivot to Asia if we want to keep growing our economies, and this report will be very useful in informing our government’s policies and actions in that regard.”
Key recommendations in the report include:
“Council members are passionate in their belief that Asia beckons to us as never before, but that there is a lack of urgency in national efforts to enhance and transform our relationships with Asia,” Kook said. “We believe that Saskatchewan can lead the nation in Asian engagement – there is no other province better equipped to do so – and our recommendations are meant to contribute to those leadership efforts.”
- A tripling of exports to Asia by 2020 through enhancements to the Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership (STEP), better market access and export readiness support for the province’s small and medium enterprises, and focused in-market representation in South Asia and the region covered by the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN);
- Identification and development of project proposals for at least 10 major in-province investment opportunities for Asian investors;
- Establishment of an international education council to identify barriers and opportunities related to international post-secondary student recruitment;
- Development of Asian language and awareness programming in Saskatchewan’s primary and secondary schools, with a priority on the Mandarin language; and
- Greater celebration and promotion of Saskatchewan’s immigrant populations and their contribution to our province.
Saskatchewan’s trade with Asia was at an all-time high in 2013 with $6.6 billion worth of exports. Saskatchewan leads Canadian exports to India, Indonesia and Bangladesh.
The premier said the government will carefully review the report’s recommendations and issue a formal response to it within four months.
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