Date: Wed. Apr 25th
Our day began with a sponsored tour bus ride to Jinshan Group of Companies Corporate Headquarters where we were hosted by Chairman, Dr. Jinshan Wang.
Dr. Wang is also the President of the Chongqing Private Economy Association. Our delegation had met with the Jinshan group last November and the London Chamber was proud to have hosted the Jinshan group last September when they visited London.
Our joint roundtable was kicked off by a warm welcome from Chairman Wang and was responded to equally by Mayor Fontana. Pete White of the LEDC again led off the presentations about London’s economic advantages, followed by stakeholder presentations from Lily Wang (ABOC), Barry Cleaver (Siskinds) and Andrea Feddema (Ernst & Young).
About thirty companies were present from the Chongqing Chamber of Commerce and a very healthy exchange took place between our delegates and theirs. We met with businesses engaged in everything from pharmaceuticals, to petro chemicals to food processing and law. Both Barry Cleaver and Andrea had very promising discussions with representatives from a number of energy companies involved in wind power and more. Another promising connection is one where the Hot-pot Food Company whose primary product line is spices and seasonings is looking for a value added partner in Canada to distribute their lines to the eastern part of North America. Hmmm….can we think of any company in London?
Most promising was a connection that the Mayor and I made with a new Government Department of the Chinese government whose mandate is to move $30 billion of Foreign Direct Investment into the North American market with a focus on Canada. In short, Chinese companies are being incented to invest in Canada and have until 2015 to complete that mandate. We were encouraged by their team to quickly get a profile of London’s economic advantages along with a number of significantly large projects that we would like to promote to them for possible investments. Make no mistake, we will be moving very quickly to respond to that request as this is exactly the kind of opportunity London has been looking for. More foreign direct investment translates to more capital coming to London creating more jobs in the process.
After the Roundtable, Jinshan again graciously hosted us for a 20 course lunch with numerous toasts and fellowship. Our Team London later split up to visit and educational institute as well as a most impressive tour of their CAST (Chongqing Academy of Science and Technology) High Tech Industrial Park. Over 85 companies exist here but they too have similar difficulties transferring technology into commerce. Our group was then treated to a corporate tour of the Houpong Pharmaceutical Company.
Back on the bus and it was off to our one hour ride back to the hotel all the while remaining within the city limits of Chongqing. We regrouped and walked to yet another dinner hosted by Jinshan and the CCPIT (China Council for the Promotion of International Trade), Chongqing Sub-Council.
Prior to an unbelievable hot pot dinner, I had the great honour to sign an MOU with Shi Lei, the Vice-Chairman of CCPIT. We were accompanied as well by Lindsay Margenau, Vice Counsul, Trade Commissioner for the Government of Canada stationed in Chongqing.
There are unquestionable opportunities that exist between London and Chongqing and our friends here are most willing to listen and grow the relationships that are necessary to net any mutual benefits from them. The fact that London is here and is willing to demonstrate that all important patience that the Chinese require, places us well ahead of our Canadian competitors and on track to realize the net benefits that can and will accrue to London.
Our night (your morning) concluded with the Mayor and I doing a live interview with Steve Garrison of CJBK. Although I have talked to Steve on hundreds of occasions, it did seem a little strange talking to him from half way around the world and from the world’s largest city. The world is getting smaller is oh so true.
Off to Nanjing for the final leg of this unbelievable mission.