Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia strategy to boost trade with China has no budget or target

The provincial government has launched a strategy aimed at increasing trade between Nova Scotia and China. Premier Stephen McNeil plans to visit this fall — the third time since taking office.

Trade with China worth $420M in 2015

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil announced the strategy to increase trade with China in front of a business and academic crowd in Halifax on Thursday. (Jean Laroche/CBC)

A five-year strategy aimed at strengthening Nova Scotia's ties with China and increasing trade was unveiled on Thursday, but there is no budget, target or goal attached to the plan.

Premier Stephen McNeil, who announced the strategy in front of a business and academic crowd in Halifax, said there's a tremendous opportunity for those who want to do business with the Chinese.

"As the fastest growing market on earth, China has been and continues to be a strategic global market for Nova Scotia," he said.

"We know that more export to China means more jobs for Nova Scotians."

$420M in exports

The provincial government says China was Nova Scotia's largest trading partner in Asia last year, and accounted for about $420 million worth of exports. That includes $208 million worth of lobster, crab and shrimp, $153 million in wood pulp and $31 million in metals.

But McNeil says the new strategy is about more than simply increasing exports. The province wants to see more students from China coming to study in Nova Scotia.

"International students are the fastest-growing segment of the university student population in Nova Scotia," reads the strategy. "Approximately 35 per cent are Nova Scotia's international students are from China."

Tapping into China's middle class

Kevin Lynch, a board member of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, told the gathering the key is to tap into the potential that is China's burgeoning middle class "that is larger than the populations of Canada, the United States and Mexico combined."

"It's this Chinese middle class — with its enormous demands for high quality, diverse and safe foodstuffs, for quality education, for unique tourist experiences, for logistics and for clean tech to remediate the environment — all things that we do very well here in Nova Scotia," he said.

You can read the details of the Nova Scotia-China Engagement Strategy here.

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