Another extraordinary year draws to a close. From the heartbreak of losing our Queen to the joy of playing cricket in Sunnybrook Park, with a hat-trick of Prime Ministers in between, it’s been a roller-coaster ride yet again. The Chamber has been busy throughout the tumult, organising events, making connections, and lobbying on behalf of Members.
Our celebration of International Women’s Day had a focus on women in the Security, Defense & Military industries as we did our part to break the bias. We had decided on this topic long before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but the timing could not have been more apposite. Our mutual defense and security infrastructure is more than an historical legacy and depends not just on alliances and paper agreements, but on trade, co-operative development, and the exchange of personnel and ideas. This is a theme we returned to repeatedly during the year.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Secretary of State for International Trade, visited Canada in March to kick-off negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement between the two countries. The BCCTC was very pleased to co-host a Fireside chat with the Secretary of State and her Canadian counterpart, Minister for International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development Mary Ng MP at the World Trade Centre Toronto. Details of that event can be found here.
Over the course of the year, the Chamber has maintained its engagement with the negotiators on both sides to make sure our interests are heard by those at the coalface. Most recently, prior to the fourth round of negotiations in Ottawa, the Chamber met with members of the UK’s negotiating team to provide a local perspective on barriers to trade. Whilst the details of our conversations are confidential in nature, we were asked by BCCTC sponsors, CIMA and ACCA, to discuss the challenges UK professionals face when conducting business in Canada. We were pleased to rejoin the team and other British-Canadian organisations at Earnscliffe, the High Commissioner’s residence, for an informal social gathering, tasting some of the UK’s finest food and drink, generously sponsored by another Chamber sponsor, Diageo.
Those negotiations came soon after International Trade Week, the UK’s largest trade and export-focused event hosted by the UK Department for International Trade. We organised several events to prepare stakeholders for that celebration of multi-lateral trade including a webinar focused on “Canada & the UK Trade after Brexit - how it’s going?”. A recording of this overview of Canada - UK trade, including tips and guidelines for those looking at exporting and importing between the two countries can be found here.
The BABN (British American Business Network) Annual Conference was revived for the first time in three years as COVID restrictions were lifted and trans-Atlantic travel eased. The last Conference had been in Birmingham in 2019 so the BCCTC was eager to join colleagues from across North America and the UK to discuss transatlantic trade. The format was a multi-track conference covering four industry sectors that are vital to our economies: Aerospace, Finance, Law, and Health Care. Members of the BCCTC are also members of the BABN and should contact our Executive Director, Idalia Obregon, to learn more about the opportunities for co-operation and networking.
During the year we also welcomed a new Consul General to Toronto, Greg Quinn. Technically Greg’s is a temporary posting but, sadly, he has already served under three Prime Ministers in his short time in place. Greg holds an Honorary Doctorate from the Queen’s University, Belfast, and we were very glad to join him at his Residence in November to support Invest Northern Ireland and Northern Irish Connections as they celebrated the Irish contribution to Canada with a Queen’s University Belfast Alumni networking event. More details about Northern Ireland in Canada in 2022 can be found here.
We are always delighted to support the regions of the UK and raise awareness of business opportunities outside of the obvious destinations such as London. In February we hosted a Scottish Virtual Trade Mission Networking event in partnership with Scottish Development International, Scottish North American Business Council, Lochaber Chamber of Commerce, Inverness Chamber of Commerce. Even more excitingly, in October, the Lochaber CC was able to make an in-person trade mission to Nova Scotia which had been postponed from 2020.
In May, a delegation from Birmingham and the West Midlands toured Canada to promote the region and the Commonwealth Games, held in Birmingham in July and August of this year. Reciprocal visits were then arranged as part of VisitBritain’s activity in partnership with the West Midlands Growth Company through the Business and Tourism Programme (BATP). VisitBritain is running a three-year programme through the BATP in its major Commonwealth inbound tourism markets Australia, Canada and India to boost awareness of the West Midlands’ tourism offer. More details about the West Midlands can be found here.
The Soccer World Cup has been generating lots of excitement in recent days but in the summer the focus was on European football and the brilliance of England’s Lionesses as they won the European Championship. In fact, it was a tremendous year for sport, with the England XV reaching the final of the Rugby World Cup in the Fall, and the rejuvenated England Men’s cricket team winning 9 out of 10 Test Matches and the T-20 World Cup, whilst the Women lost out in the Final to Australia - there has been much to keep us entertained.
Finally, a reminder of the tremendous benefaction of Her Majesty the Queen’s 70-year reign.
We had barely finished celebrating her Platinum Jubilee when we were left bereft by her death. For those of us who have known no other monarch, it was a monumental loss made that much worse by the current turmoil in international relations – the steadiest of hands has gone when she was needed most. We sincerely hope King Charles III brings the same degree of reassurance and consolation as his beloved Mother.
Getting ready for 2023
Canada-UK Inward Investment Cyber Mission
Call for Expressions of Interest
The UK Department for International Trade (DIT) is hosting a Canada Tri-City Inward Investment Cyber Mission to the United Kingdom (UK), in March 2023 for selected Canadian technology companies exploring international growth opportunities. Details here.
Application deadline: January 14, 2023.
This week-long in-market investment mission, focused on the Cyber Security Technology sector, seeks to enhance sector-specific contacts and knowledge base of Canadian companies to the UK market, and identify market opportunities in select regions throughout the UK. The mission involves visits to Cyber Security hubs within Gloucestershire, Manchester, and Belfast such as National Cyber Security Centre, Golden Valley Project, Hub 8 Innovation Centre, The Forum Development, DiSH, MediaCity, Centre for Secure Information Technology (CSIT), Catalyst among others.