Mayor's business delegation heads off to China, Thailand

Mayor Jim Watson and a delegation of 15 local business leaders arrive in Beijing Monday on a week-long mission they hope will pay long-term dividends for Ottawa’s economy.

“I’m looking forward to promoting Ottawa abroad and supporting our local businesses in their efforts to grow and create jobs,” Mr. Watson said in a statement. “Investment and opportunity do not come to those who sit back and wait. It’s important that we build and strengthen business and innovation relationships in key markets around the world.”

The delegation will be in China until Thursday, during which time it will have meetings with municipal leaders, China’s ministry of culture and Canadian ambassador Guy Saint-Jacques.

Topics will include possible investments, cultural exchanges and opportunities to recognize the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017.

Mr. Watson will also speak at an investment and innovation seminar hosted by Invest Ottawa and its partners. The event’s goal is to promote investment opportunities in the capital to more than 100 Chinese investors and entrepreneurs.

Invest Ottawa president and CEO Bruce Lazenby is also on the trip. His organization has organized 10 missions to China and welcomed 30 Chinese delegations in the last two years alone and says the meetings have helped 120 local high-tech companies benefit from bilateral trade, investment and partnership activities.

“Ottawa’s technology industries are in the midst of tremendous growth, driven by our local investors, entrepreneurs and business owners,” Mr. Lazenby said in a statement. “Invest Ottawa works to ensure that key global markets, such as China, know what we have to offer and think of Ottawa when they think about innovation in Canada.”

The second stop on Mr. Watson’s itinerary is Bangkok, where the mayor and a delegation from Ottawa Tourism will participate in the One Young World conference in Thailand’s largest city. Ottawa will host the event next year and the delegation has been invited to participate in this year’s closing ceremonies, where Mr. Watson will address the crowd.

Ottawa Tourism interim president and CEO Dick Brown said in a release that the delegation has an “excellent musical and cultural presentation planned” to attract delegates for next year’s event.

“We look forward to showcasing Canada’s dynamic, diverse and exciting G7 capital city,” he said.