Minister of International Trade Promotes Brand Canada to Global Business Leaders During Vancouver's Winter Olympics

BC's Minister of International Trade Peter Van Loan has been pitching the Canada-brand to directors of companies and potential investors from around the world during the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.

"The Olympics have given us a huge opportunity," Van Loan told the Vancouver Observer  yesterday, after meeting with investors from the United States, Finland, Austria, Spain and the United Kingdom at  Global Business Leaders Day here.

"Theses countries have an interest in winter sports and this was an opportunity to encourage them to come and discuss their plans further while enjoying the Games.  It's also a great opportunity for us to sell the advantages Canada has both economically and in lifestyle."

Van Loan said  Canada is compelling to business investors from around the world and to CEO's considering the most financially viable country to be based in.  
Citing Canada's health care system, its stable banking industry,  highly educated workforce and  superior quality of life, Van Loan said the seed had been planted in the days of the Games for further international investment here.

"The Olympic Games have given us an opportunity to highlight the clear economic advantages," he said.  "And to highlight the beautiful quality of life Canada has to offer.  And to offer people a good experience in coming here. All of these will have affects.  There will be people who were turned on by what they saw on television and will come here to do business.  There will be people who came here in person and will decide to come back and do business."

He said he had been talking with a full spector of people from the financial services, people from environmental industries, from resource based sectors, from manufacturing.  

"We are the only country in the world that has not had a single bank failure," Van Loan said. "We have been identified by the World Economic Forum for several years as the country with the soundest banking system in the world and we have not had a single bank bailout.  That is certainly a contrast to all of our competitors."

Why has this been the case?

"Part of it is good regulation.  We've had more serious rules in place. Part of it is a cultural attitude. People used to be critical of our banks as boring.  Now boring is seem as pretty good.  There's always been a prudent approach to risks being taken by our banking associations," he said.

"The fact that we have the lowest debt to Gross Domestic Product ratio means that instead of facing instability on the government side, you're looking at stability.  As a foreign investor, you're not going to be facing tax increases or the fiscal pressure to increase taxes or the pressure to increase interest rates that you see in the countries that are indebted.  We have the lowest taxes on new business in the G7 as well.  

"All of these are attractive reasons why people want to invest here."

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