Canada to increase trade with GCC

(XAVIER WILSON)   


 
Canada’s trade with GCC and Yemen is set to increase following the opening of an export credit agency office in Abu Dhabi.

“We have seen 140 per cent growth in trade between Canada and the GCC since 2001,” said Eric Siegel, President and CEO of Ottawa-based Export Development Canada (EDC).

“With the current economic boom in the region, growth will continue at an average of 20 per cent per year and for countries such as Qatar and the UAE it will reach 25 per cent.”

According to EDC figures, more than 1,500 Canadian companies in a variety of sectors, including oil, gas and telecommunications, have a presence in the GCC.

And the number of Canadian companies in the region is expected to grow by 10 per cent a year.

“The phenomenal growth of the economies of the GCC and Yemen has led the EDC to support more exports there than to China, India or Brazil in 2007,” added Siegel.

“Abu Dhabi is the best place to get closer to all sorts of commercial activities and strengthen trade ties between Canada and the UAE and other countries in the region,” he said.
 
Despite the increase in level of trade, Canadian companies face
challenges as they chase further growth.

“There has been a tendency for GCC-based companies to look towards China, Japan, Europe or the United States but not Canada when engaging in major joint ventures in a variety of sectors.

“This is in spite of the quality of Canadian products and services in telecommunications, oil, gas, healthcare and other areas. “We are anxious to see companies such as Saudi-based Aramco, Qatar Petroleum and Adnoc establish offices in Canada. Canadian companies have good experience in the oil and gas sector due to the country’s huge oil reserves and advanced facilities.” 

The oil and gas sector represents 35 per cent of Canada’s total activities in the GCC – more than 70 Canadian oil and gas companies are represented in the region.

“We are also involved in infrastructure, urban development and design, city planning, transportation services, environmental technologies and waste water management,” said Siegel. “More than 30 Canadian infrastructure and construction companies are active in the UAE.”

He said Canada had not been affected by the credit crisis in the US.

“Our presence in Abu Dhabi will ensure there is lending capacity from Canada to support Canadian projects in the region.” He said the EDC has a deal with the Islamic Development Bank to develop the agency’s ability to participate in Shariah-compliant transactions.

The EDC is a government agency that offers commercial support for businesses and corporations wishing to do business abroad.

It assisted with exports to and investments in the GCC worth more than Dh6.6 billion in 2007.
 
 
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