A new report outlines the case for making a broad-based
Canada-Asia energy relationship a national priority and calls for
leadership to develop a strategic framework to enhance energy
relations with Asia.
GLOBE-Net, June 20, 2012 - Canada's
biggest challenge as an energy exporting country is security of
demand, and Asia offers the greatest opportunity to respond to this
challenge, according to a taskforce report released recently by the
Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (APFC) and the Canada
The report, entitled 'Securing Canada's Energy Future,' outlines
the case for making a broad-based Canada-Asia energy relationship a
national priority. It is a particularly timely analysis given the
increased focus on energy exports to Asia being placed by federal
and provincial governments in Canada.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated
this week at the G20 summit in Los Cabos Mexico that Canada will
join negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a major
international free-trade agreement which promises to boost economic
growth and trade with the Asia Pacific region.
The report calls for leadership to develop a strategic framework
to enhance energy relations with Asia, which is a primary locus of
global economic growth and source of growing energy demand in the
"At a time when the debate on energy exports is as noisy and
confusing as ever, I believe this report is a model of balance,
clarity, and purpose," said APFC President and CEO Yuen Pau
"It makes no bones about the national importance of energy
exports - fossil fuels as well as "green" energy and
technology/expertise. But the report also makes clear that
environmental and First Nations concerns cannot be treated as an
afterthought in project planning and development."
Several major infrastructure developments are planned as part of
a major energy corridor to move Western Canadian energy resources
to tidewater for export to Asian markets. The Task Force report
calls for such investments, but cautions on the need to treat First
Nations issues fairly.
Established in the fall of 2011, the Canada-Asia Energy Futures
Taskforce is co-chaired by The Hon. Kevin Lynch, Vice-Chair of
BMO Financial Group, and Ms. Kathy Sendall, Director
of CGG Veritas.
Mr. Lynch stated that, "We need to think critically,
strategically and wisely about Canada's energy future with Asia. We
have an immense opportunity to turn Canada's energy trade with Asia
into a benefit for all regions of Canada, but to do so requires
leadership and collaborative innovation on many levels."
The taskforce, composed of individuals with backgrounds in
public policy, business, aboriginal affairs, academia, economics,
and sustainable development, offers preliminary recommendations for
the creation of a strategic framework on Canada-Asia energy
Key recommendations include:
Think 'big' on diversification.
- Country diversification: China is a priority market, but
not the only market. Japan, South Korea, and India are all
opportunities for market diversification that can strengthen
Canada's security of demand.
- Product diversification: Energy clusters can serve as
platforms for the expansion and diversification of energy trade
with Asia, and can do so in a way that incorporates not only
oil and gas, but also renewable energy and
- Industry diversification: Asia's rising middle classes, as
well as the need for major investments in infrastructure, provide
opportunities for Canada beyond the energy sector. Canada
needs to bolster support to its small and medium-sized enterprises
and to pursue public-private trade development partnerships to help
firms from various industrial sectors trade successfully
- Diversification through innovation: Universities,
governments and industry should collaborate to establish energy
innovation institutes to expand the range andquality of energy
research and technology.
Promote leadership on all levels.
The federal and provincial governments, the private sector,
First Nations governments, communities and environmental groups
each have an important role to play in establishing a framework
that benefits all parties. The creation of a Canada Council on Asia
could bring together Canadian and Asian leaders to provide wise
counsel on Canada's diversification objectives in Asia.
Commit to infrastructure development.
A commitment to invest in hard and soft infrastructure to export
energy is a pre-requisite for closer economic ties with Asia.
Developing a public energy transportation corridor constituted by
government, regulated as a kind of public utility, and operated by
the private sector merits further study. This corridor could
consist of a combination of pipelines and rail transportation for
oil and gas to the west coast.
"We still have a lot to explore in the nascent Canada-Asia
energy relationship," said Ms. Sendall. "We all agree that we can
no longer be complacent in how we deal with Asia on the energy
file. The window of opportunity will not be open forever, and now
is the time to play our strongest card to strengthen our overall
relations with the region."
The Canada-Asia Energy Futures Taskforce was created as part
of APF Canada's National Conversation on Asia (NCA). This
project aims to get Canadians thinking and talking about what Asia
means to Canada.
The full report is available