Beijing/Shanghai,China – Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Rick Doucet describes himself as a bit like a travelling salesman when he takes part in trade delegations to other countries.
This week finds Doucet part of a delegation to China, led by Lt.-Gov. Jocelyne Roy Vienneau, and he made sure he took along some Ganong products in his carry-on luggage to share with those he meets.
“We have a couple of events that we are hosting with multiple stakeholder groups. Besides maple syrup and blueberries, I am making sure Ganong chocolates are going to be served. I carry them in my own carry-on,” said the Fundy-The Isles-Saint John West MLA in a telephone interview from China Sunday morning.
“The Chinese palate has certainly shifted to the western way with them enjoying maple syrup and chocolates. There was always that barrier that they didn’t like things as sweet as we did, but now that is shifting with the middle classes, and they like what we have so there are great opportunities to showcase some of our products.”
Representatives of two Charlotte County seafood companies – True North Salmon and Bay Shore Lobster – are part of the trade delegation which left for China Saturday.
The mission aims to strengthen ties with China, and to build on recent trade missions in the region. Representatives of 17 New Brunswick companies and the University of New Brunswick are participating in events with Opportunities NB, and working to further develop their business activities in the country.
“This is the largest multi-sector trade mission New Brunswick has ever undertaken,” said Doucet, who is also the minister of energy and resource development.
“We are working to build strong trade relationships in China, which has turned out to be a very important market for us, and to diversify our markets.
“We are 90 per cent reliant on markets such as the US, so it is important for us to be there. The presence of the Lieutenant Governor shows how seriously we take this relationship.
“China is New Brunswick’s third largest export market, so anything we can do to improve the relationship between the two countries is positive.”
While in China, members of the delegation are also promoting New Brunswick as a tourism destination to travel corporations, and media. This year, 2018, has been designated as the Canada-China Year of Tourism.
The delegation is also expected to sign a twinning agreement with Hebei province, which has a population of 73 million people, and will be designated as a new special economic zone to promote development in that region. In addition, Doucet and Roy Vienneau are scheduled to participate in the official opening of a new school in Fuzhou.
“Here we are, right in the middle of it, offering all these goods and wares. It is just a growing market. We are really reinforcing our bonds and also reinforcing free trade opportunities for Canada.
“Consumers in China want high-quality, healthy products, and the best services for themselves and their children. New Brunswick businesses have the ability and the experience to deliver the best to them.
“On this particular trip we are going with innovative New Brunswick companies that have a reputation for delivering good quality. There are some newcomers and some who have been trading with China for a long time.
“We are gaining experience in China, and we are forging relationships. We will also be promoting New Brunswick as a destination to visit and will be spending a lot of time on the tourism side.
“I feel like a travelling salesman promoting tourism, the fishery and Ganong. There are many good New Brunswick stories to talk about here.”