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Minister Peter Van Loan in front of Bombardier’s Gautrain, in Johannesburg, South Africa.
NEWS RELEASE · 17th March 2010
Ministery of Intl Trade
The Honourable Peter Van Loan, Minister of International Trade, today concluded a visit to South Africa, the sub-Saharan region’s dominant economy, to advance key trade and investment interests for Canadian business.

“As a G20 partner, South Africa has a great deal of potential for Canadian companies, particularly in telecommunications, mining, transportation, energy and infrastructure,” said Minister Van Loan. “I am here to build on our achievements and expand our growing trade relationship even further.”

During his visit, Minister Van Loan met with his South African counterpart, Rob Davies, Minister of Trade and Industry. Minister Van Loan made the point that Canada and South Africa would benefit from a strong bilateral foreign investment promotion and protection agreement.

On behalf of Canadian pork producers, Minister Van Loan worked to find ways to keep South African markets open to Canadian pork during a meeting with Tina Joemat Pettersson, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. The two ministers agreed to additional consultations to develop an acceptable solution.

Minister Van Loan also marked the conclusion of negotiations on a Canada-South Africa air transportation agreement during his meeting with Jeremy Cronin, Deputy Minister of Transport. A bilateral air transportation agreement would make it easier to do business by allowing scheduled direct air services between the two countries.

In Johannesburg, Minister Van Loan met with representatives from the Canadian and South African business communities, advocating increased trade and investment between the two countries.

He also toured the Gautrain depot, where work to build a rapid rail transit network to link O.R. Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg and Pretoria is under way. Canada’s Bombardier Inc. is a key partner in the consortium leading the multi year project.

During his visit, Minister Van Loan worked to deepen the growing trade relationship between the two countries. He also noted that Canada looks forward to hosting world leaders, including South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma, during the G20 Summit in Toronto this June.

South Africa is Canada’s second-largest trading partner in the sub-Saharan region, with two-way merchandise trade reaching approximately $1.1 billion in 2009.

Minister Van Loan travels tomorrow to Kenya, where he will meet with key business and government officials to encourage free and open trade with Canada, and advance Canada and Kenya’s mutual commercial interests in the infrastructure, and information and communication technology sectors.