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Province, China sign economic agreement expanding opportunities

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Premier Greg Selinger signed a memorandum of understanding today with the Chinese province of Anhui to expand economic opportunities, trade and investment over the next five years.

The deal focuses on agriculture and bio-products.

"China is one of Manitoba's most important trade partners and our past relationship with Anhui province has become increasingly valuable for our producers and processors," Selinger said from Shanghai. "Our exports to China and Hong Kong in 2011 were $1.13 billion and almost one-third of that was agricultural products."

The memorandum, also signed by Anhui Gov. Li Bin, identifies a number of development priorities that will strengthen ties between the two provinces. Manitoba hopes that these will advance opportunities for developing and testing advanced technology in food and bio-products processing, broader trade in agricultural products, sharing knowledge and scientific research and improving access to Chinese markets, the premier said.

"Our agreement reinforces our intentions to focus on these priority areas and to encourage regular business-to-business contacts that promote trade and investment," Selinger said in a news release. "China's direct investment in Canada has grown to $14 billion in 2010 from $6 billion in 2008 and we hope to keep encouraging that investment trend, especially in Manitoba."

Manitoba and Anhui have had a cultural, business and trade relationship since 2000 when a trade mission from Anhui came to Manitoba. The two provinces signed a memorandum of understanding in 2001 and renewed it in 2005. Signing today's agreement will build on shared friendship and economic interests, Selinger said.

Manitoba's overall exports to China include grains, animal feed, meat, machinery and freshwater fish. Future opportunities with other parts of China may include potato processing, soybean and canola crushing and processing natural fibres like flax and hemp.

 

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