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  • 31 Aug 2016 12:00 AM | Julia Tikhomirova (Administrator)

    By PETER MAZEREEUW 

    PUBLISHED : Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016 12:00 AM 

    Canadian businesses are calling on the government to reverse orders to Canada’s export credit agency that stop it from supporting trade with Russia, saying it has cost them millions of dollars in business. But the government and official opposition are standing firm, saying the move is an extension of the more targeted sanctions against the country for its incursion into Ukraine.

    Export Development Canada, a Crown corporation, stopped providing insurance and financing for business deals between Canadian and Russian companies in 2014 on orders from the Conservative government at the time, according to spokesperson Phil Taylor.That policy was brought in along with a package of trade sanctions as a response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, according to Global Affairs Canada.

    However, while the trade sanctions are targeted against specific individuals and entities in Russia, and the Russian oil and gas industry—with its direct ties to many of Russia’s power players—the EDC ban affects any and all transactions between Canadian and Russian businesses that require the special financing and insurance the export bank usually supplies.

    “This is affecting everyone,” said Sebastien Dakin, a regional director for the Canada Eurasia Russia Business Association (CERBA). Do business in Russia at your ‘own peril’ Companies seeking to export everything from food and clothing to manufactured goods to Russia don’t have access to insurance offered by EDC, and so are taking a risk when they ship goods that they will receive payment once those goods arrive. They also can’t access EDC financing for buyers, and so often have to find customers in Russia able to pay for large orders up front. Some members have had to stop selling to Russia altogether, said Mr. Dakin.

    CERBA has lobbied the government on the issue, as has the Agricultural Manufacturers of Canada. The exports from AMC members have dropped from about $144 million in 2012 to about $23 million last year, said president Leah Olson.

    “The industry has been very impacted by the policy. We strongly support the notion that EDC should be active in that whole market region, including Russia,” said Ben Voss, president of Morris Industries, a company that sells air carts, air drills, and other agricultural implements.

    The government hasn’t changed its mind. In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland (University-Rosedale, Ont.) reiterated that the ban on supporting business in Russia “is the guidance provided to EDC.”

    “Canada has one of the strongest sanctions regimes [in] the world against Russia and we will continue to use it to apply economic pressure on the Putin government. By engaging with Russia on the one hand and demonstrating our firm resolve on sanctions on the other, we strengthen our ability to hold them to account,” wrote Anne-Louise Chauvette, Ms. Freeland’s communications director.

    Conservative foreign affairs critic Peter Kent (Thornhill, Ont.) said his party continued to support tough penalties against Russia in response to its military action in Crimea and east Ukraine, despite the “collateral damage” to Canadian companies.

    “It’s unfortunate,” he said, but “that’s the reality of life today.”

    “Official opposition policy is that sanctions have worked, and are working, and, if anything, should be strengthened,” he said.

    “Canadian companies doing business in Russia do that business at their own peril,” he said.

    Companies like Mr. Voss’s Morris Industries can’t easily turn to banks or other financial institutions to fill in for EDC, as most won’t take the risk of guaranteeing a purchase across borders, he said.

    Global Affairs Canada explained the instructions for EDC to stop “pursuing business” in Russia by noting a similar policy put in place by the U.S. Export-Import Bank.

    “Actions taken by the government of Canada in response to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea are made strategically and in close coordination with our partners,” said GAC spokesperson Diana Khaddaj in an emailed statement.

    Quebec aerospace manufacturer Bombardier experienced the “peril” described by Mr. Kent firsthand. The company suspended negotiations on a $3.4-billion sale of turboprop aircraft to a Russian company in late 2014 after the sanctions were imposed on Russia, and another Russian buyer was left to scramble for financing for a sale of the company’s CSeries jets last year after EDC stopped providing that service.

    A spokesperson for Russia’s Ilyushin Finance Company, which had hoped to buy those jets, blamed EDC for its failure to go ahead with the purchase as planned, telling Aviation International News earlier this month that the hold on EDC financing for business with Russia was politically motivated.

    IFC’s purchase order was eventually changed to include fewer jets and a single turboprop aircraft, AIN reported.

    Bombardier declined to make a spokesperson available for an interview on the EDC policy. In an emailed statement, spokesperson Simon Letendre wrote that the company was continuing to pursue business in Russia. Pork ban holding up Canadian exports The EDC website explains the policy on Russia by referring to Canadian trade sanctions.

    However, those sanctions do not require a blanket ban on trade between the two countries.

    The current sanctions against Russia “are not comprehensive sanctions that prohibit Canadians from doing business with Russian entities” but are targeted to certain people, entities, goods, services, and technology, said Vincent DeRose, a partner in the Borden Ladner Gervais Ottawa law office who leads the firm’s defence and security group.

    Industry Canada trade statistics show that manufactured machinery and equipment are among the biggest exports from Canada to Russia. Aerospace products including helicopters, airplanes, and flight simulators made up the top two most exported product groups tracked by Industry Canada last year, with a combined value of about $124 million.

    Pork was the leading export from Canada to Russia by far up until 2014, but the Russian government banned meat imports from Canada and other Western countries that year in response to their sanctions.

    Fortunately, Canadian pork producers have mostly been able to find other markets—primarily in Asia—for their formerly Russian-bound product, said Gary Stordy, a spokesperson for the Canadian Pork Council.  

    p e t e r @ h ill t i m e s.c o m 

    @ P J M a z e r e e u w

    Peter Mazereeuw is a deputy editor for The Hill Times covering trade, immigration and more. (http://www.hilltimes.com/author-bio?AuID=57142) He can be reached at peter@hilltimes.com. (mailto:) Follow him on Twitter at @PJMazereeuw. (https://twitter.com/PJMazereeuw)


  • 30 Aug 2015 11:22 PM | Wojtek C. (Administrator)

    July 23, 2015 -  Montreal The Canada Eurasia Russia Business Association (CERBA) organized its third Innovation Conference, on July 23 in Montréal, bringing together over 60 people from the Canadian and Eurasian business community, government, and academia.  The conference, with a special focus on industrial biotechnology aimed to identify joint business opportunities and collaboration in the innovation and R&D process. 'The conference proved very useful and introduced us to important actors in the Canadian biotech and innovation sector', expressed Alexey Ablaev, CEO of the Russian Biofuel Association.

    The CEO of BioteCanada, Andrew Casey, presented the main strengths and challenges of the Canadian biotech industry, outlining common avenues of collaboration and common threats, such as the difficulty of attracting investments for technology development: 'Investors are like tourists, they will always go where they feel most comfortable and welcome, and competition is sharp', underlined Mr. Casey. 

    Barbara Béliveau, Director of International Partnerships at the Québec Ministry of Economy, Innovation, and Exports, outlined the provincial government model to support innovation through various programs and tax incentives, making Quebec one of the most attractive places in the world to for R&D intensive companies. 

    The CEO of the Montreal based company Bioastra, Sumitra Rajagopalan, explained the high potential of open innovation concept and collaborative technology development, specifically with Russia, since she has already worked with their scientists, recognizing the high level of research in that country. 

    'CERBA is planning to hold the Canada-Eurasia Innovation Conference again next year for a fourth edition, as we have evidence here that there is real interest and potential in further developing business and scientific relations between Canada, Russia and Kazakhstan. CERBA is strongly committed to bridging our two regions and creating opportunities in the high tech sector', expressed Sébastien Dakin, Director of the Montréal and Ottawa Chapters of CERBA.  


    See detailed program and information about the event at: http://www.cerbainnovation.com


     


  • 27 Aug 2015 11:23 PM | Wojtek C. (Administrator)

    Bombardier Commercial Aircraft welcomed Qazaq Air to the family of Q400 aircraft operators and joined the airline in introducing the technologically advanced turboprop to local government and aviation industry representatives, regulators, other invited guests and media during a press conference in Astana, Kazakhstan. Qazaq Air, a subsidiary of Samruk Kazyna, Kazakhstan’s Sovereign Wealth Fund, has announced that it will launch domestic service in Kazakhstan with three Q400 aircraft leased from Falcon Aviation Services LLC of Abu Dhabi.


    “We selected the Q400 aircraft because it has the speed and range required to service the long sectors in the Kazakh market, and has proven its reliability in regions with hot and very cold temperatures,” said Blair Pollock, Project Director, Samruk Kazyna. “In addition, the aircraft’s cabin will provide a quiet, comfortable experience for our passengers, and our airline will undoubtedly benefit from the aircraft’s excellent operating costs.


    “We thank Falcon Aviation for providing us with their aircraft and for all their support in the months running up to this launch.  We look forward to improving the air transport offering to the Kazakh people.  Many of the 12 routes on which the Q400 aircraft will operate are not currently served by any other carrier.  Qazaq Air -- using the Q400 aircraft -- will be connecting people and helping them benefit from the growth of the Kazakh economy,” added Mr. Pollock.


    “We are delighted that the Q400 aircraft has been selected for the development of the regional air transportation network in Kazakhstan and we wish Qazaq Air much success,” said Colin Bole, Senior Vice President, Sales and Asset Management, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “The Q400 aircraft’s certification for operations down to -54o C, and notably its successful operation in Canada where approximately 90 are in service, are testament to its capability to meet Qazaq Air’s growth and development plans.”


    About Q Series Aircraft

    Designed as a modern, 21st-century turboprop, the Q400 aircraft is the most recent development in the Q Series family of aircraft. It provides unmatched performance, operational flexibility and passenger comfort. While it’s nimble enough for a steep approach, the Q400 aircraft is also tough enough to land on unpaved run­ways. It’s a certified performer at high altitude airports too, like that of La Paz, Bolivia, one of the world’s highest.


    Thanks to its combination of turboprop attributes, jet-like features, industry-leading passenger experience and environmental footprint, the Q400 aircraft is exceptionally versatile and can be adapted to a variety of business models. By offering a 30% reduction in fuel burn over the jets it often replaces, the Q400 aircraft radically reduces carbon emissions and increases cost efficiency. Its high-speed cruise -- 160 km/h faster than conventional turboprops -- places the aircraft’s flight time within minutes of jet schedules, at the same seat cost as larger single-aisle jets. Its large propellers operate at a lower RPM, generating more power with less noise and making it a friendly option for city centres.


    The Q400 aircraft family includes over 60 owners and operators in almost 40 countries worldwide and the worldwide fleet has logged more than 6 million flight hours. The aircraft has transported more than 370 million passengers worldwide. Bombardier has recorded firm orders for a total of 546 Q400 aircraft.


    About Bombardier

    Bombardier is the world’s leading manufacturer of both planes and trains. Looking far ahead while delivering today, Bombardier is evolving mobility worldwide by answering the call for more efficient, sustainable and enjoyable transportation everywhere. Our vehicles, services and, most of all, our employees are what make us a global leader in transportation.


    Bombardier is headquartered in Montréal, Canada. Our shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (BBD) and we are listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability World and North America Indices. In the fiscal year ended December 31, 2014, we posted revenues of $20.1 billion. News and information are available at bombardier.com or follow us on Twitter @Bombardier.


    For Information

    Marianella de la Barrera

    Bombardier Commercial Aircraft

    +1-416-375-3030    

    marianella.delabarrera@aero.bombardier.com


    Read the full story here

    Source: www.bombardier.com


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