8 James Street
Halton Hills, ON L7G 2H3
Phone: 905.877.7119, haltonhillschamber.on.ca
For Immediate Release – November 16, 2017
Cutline: Judith Avery signs the agreement on behalf of the Halton Hills Chamber Board of Directors
Halton Hills Chamber of Commerce signs historic agreement with the Wenjiang Chamber of Commerce
Halton Hills, November 16, 2017 – At a meeting in Wenjiang (China), the Town of Halton Hills’ sister-city, on September 26, 2017, the Halton Hills Chamber of Commerce, represented by Judith Avery, signed a historic Partnership Agreement with Mr. Zhou Shenggou representing the Wenjiang Chamber of Commerce.
This is the first international agreement for both organizations and builds on the umbrella sister-city agreement that was signed by the Town of Halton Hills and Wenjiang (China) in June 2016. The Agreement takes advantage of the fact that China is Ontario’s second-largest trading partner. The September delegation to Wenjiang included Mayor Rick Bonnette, Brent Marshall, the Town’s Chief Administrative Officer, key Town staff, Art Skidmore, President and CEO of Halton Hills Community Energy Corporation, as well as Ms. Avery, Chamber Board of Directors – Treasurer, who represented the Chamber and was previously authorized by the Chamber’s Board of Directors to represent the Chamber as part of the delegation.
At the joint meeting Mr. Zhou highlighted that the Wenjiang Chamber of Commerce was established in 1951. About 1800 businesses make up the Chamber’s membership. The goal of the Chamber is to promote entrepreneurship, raise the profile of local businesses, assist with economic development priorities, and create opportunities for knowledge exchange and cooperation. Chamber members meet monthly to exchange knowledge. Chamber members are also very active within the community and with local charities.
Ms. Avery provided an overview of the Halton Hills Chamber of Commerce, including its priorities, membership, governance structure and activities. Mr. Art Skidmore, Halton Hills Community Energy Corporation, noted that one of the areas of interest for the Town is clean energy, climate change and sustainable development technologies. Mr. Damian Szybalski, Manager of Economic Development, Innovation and Culture, at the Town of Halton Hills provided an overview of the role of the Town’s Economic Development, Innovation and Culture division in attracting investment to Halton Hills and the assistance that the Town provides to potential investors as well as existing businesses.
Highlights of the Chamber Agreement focus on exploring potential cooperation by strengthening relationships between the Wenjiang Chamber of Commerce and the Halton Hills Chamber of Commerce through the sharing of economic information, official visits and exchanges of experience.
A direct relationship between the Wenjiang and Halton Hills Chambers will benefit our local businesses by creating a smoother path to doing business with China by our local businesses and to attracting investment from Wenjiang and China to Halton Hills and by strategically positioning Halton Hills to be ready for future tightening of trade cooperation between China and Canada as evidenced by movement to consider a potential Free Trade Agreement between the two countries. This will give our local businesses an advantage when competing on the global stage.
The Halton Hills Chamber of Commerce has a number of members who are already successfully doing business with China and there are others that have expressed interest in doing so. The Board of Directors of the Chamber felt that this is an economic development opportunity for our members that they cannot afford to neglect and to be relevant we must help provide access to the global markets. The Chamber is pleased to be collaborating with the Town of Halton Hills is assisting businesses in accessing new markets.
A recent report “Canadian Checklist for Trade Negotiations With China” published by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce sets forth a business checklist for strengthening our trade and investment relationship with China. It makes the case for a longer-term strategy, seeking successes that are more ambitious and far-reaching than a doubling of trade flows. Trade negotiations can set the stage for dealing with many issues that are critical to business, helping to create a competitive playing field for Canada’s business community, and building on the shared policy priorities of our two countries.
The Chamber hosted a trip to China in October. A group of 34 people including Chamber General Manager Kathleen Dills and Board Director Nathalie Brooks visited Beijing and Shanghai and got first-hand experience of China.
To further promote the opportunity for our local businesses, the Town of Oakville, Town of Halton Hills, Halton Region and the Oakville Chinese Business Association will host an engaging & informative forum for local companies to explore the how, why and benefits of doing business with China on Friday, November 17 at Piper's Heath Golf Club.
Halton Hills Chamber of Commerce has been the business advocate of choice since 1912 representing over 500 local businesses who together employ over 11,600 people
Media Contact: Kathleen Dills, General Manager