Richmond group organizes trade delegation to China amid uncertain political climate

A Richmond-based business group is organizing a trade delegation to Hong Kong and mainland China, despite the many uncertainties of Chinese-Canadian relations triggered by last month’s arrest of Huawei’s executive Meng Wanzhou.

The North America Investment Association (NAIA) at Pacific Plaza announced last Friday it will attend the second Belt & Road International Food Expo in Hong Kong in June, and hold a trade fair in Dongguan, China afterwards. Coun. Bill McNulty attended the announcement.

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“We already have more than 10 companies signed up for the trip - most from Richmond - and we expect to have almost 30 companies in the end,” Amy Huang, president of NAIA, told the Richmond News.

The delegation will exhibit Canadian products such as icewine, milk powder, dry blueberries, seafood, and vitamins to buyers from more than 50 countries at the expo.

This year, the expo has also added a franchise exhibition hall for businesses who’d like to open new franchises abroad.

“The Chinese market has a huge demand for Canadian food and services. However, the Canada-China relationship has been rapidly frozen recently,” said an NAIA press release.

“Therefore, Canadian companies need to make more effort to expand the Chinese market and open up other export markets.”

Huang calls it an “ice-breaking trip.” Apart from organizing a delegation to the expo in Hong Kong, NAIA will also hold a Canada-Dongguan Trade Fair in Southern China to showcase food and services, and to conduct business exchange meetings, according to Huang.

“The trade fair is supported by the Dongguan Economic Development Corporation,” she said.

“Dongguan is very famous for its mature markets in technology, electronics and clothing, but it also needs our food products. We think it’s a very good opportunity for us.”

The organization took the Canadian delegation to the first Belt & Road International Food Expo last year and brought home $1.76 billion MOU. Huang said they are currently negotiating a $3 million contract with the Guangdong Provincial Government in China.

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