Deeper Canada-China ties will create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity in both countries, Minister says
VANCOUVER, June 22, 2012 /CNW/ - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, along with the Honourable Blair Lekstrom, British Columbia's Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Larry Berg, President and CEO of Vancouver Airport Authority, Liu Fei, Consul General of the People's Republic of China in Vancouver, and Lan Xinguo, Chairman of Sichuan Airlines, today celebrated Sichuan Airlines' inaugural passenger flight from Chengdu, China to Vancouver International Airport.
"Our government welcomes this new passenger service of Sichuan Airlines to Canada, and we applaud their interest in flying regularly to Vancouver which will make travel more convenient for tourism travellers and business," said Minister Fast. "The launch of this service is yet another testament to the deepening Canada-China partnership - a growing relationship that is benefiting people in both countries."
This new passenger service is made possible by the current Canada-China Air Transport Agreement. The Government of Canada issued a Foreign Air Operator Certificate to Sichuan Airlines on April 3, 2012. Offering three flights weekly between Chengdu, China and Vancouver, the service includes a stopover in the North Eastern Chinese city of Shenyang.
"Underpinning the Canada-China partnership are strong people-to-people ties," added Minister Fast. "As we continue to deepen our trade and investment ties to create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for workers and families in both countries, these crucial links are helping us take our relationship to the next level."
More than 1.4 million Chinese-Canadians enrich every aspect of our country, including in the arts, literature, science, business, politics and philanthropy. China is also Canada's largest source of international students with almost 57,000 Chinese students currently studying at Canadian institutions.
Sichuan Airlines is headquartered at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport, in Chengdu, the capital of China's Sichuan province. Located strategically between Western and Eastern China, Chengdu is one of the most important commercial centres in Western China, home to 14 million people who will now be well served by Canada's second busiest airport. Vancouver International Airport served approximately 17 million passengers in 2011 and handled more than 258,000 aircraft landings and take-offs on its runways, connecting people and businesses to more than 100 destinations domestically and worldwide.
Sichuan Airlines recognizes Canada's Asia-Pacific Gateway as a vital portal between Canada and China. This new service reflects the priorities of the partners in the Asia-Pacific Gateway aimed at making it the best transportation network between North America and Asia. To date, the Government of Canada has partnered with all four Western provinces, as well as with municipalities and the private sector, to announce strategic infrastructure projects worth over $3.5 billion, including federal contributions of over $1.4 billion.
As a result of these strategic investments and partnerships, Canadian exports to the Asia-Pacific region have reached record levels. Fuelled by a 27 per cent boost in Canadian exports to China, two-way merchandise trade was $65 billion in 2011. And earlier this year, Prime Minister Harper announced the conclusion of negotiations toward a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement with China. This historic agreement will assure investor confidence through stable, transparent and predictable investment and dispute resolution rules.
More information on Canada's Asia-Pacific Gateway can be found at www.pacificgateway.gc.ca.