Houston travels to Washington on trade mission, future trip to Beijing unlikely

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A short trade mission will take Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston to Washington, DC and Boston.

Beijing, unlikely.

“Given our close ties to the United States and the strength of our cultural and business ties, it makes strategic sense that my first international trade and economic mission will be to the United States,” Houston said of a trip that will take him to the American capital. Tuesday and in Boston before returning home on December 2.

“We’re going to be meeting with business leaders, decision makers, influencers in various markets,” Houston said at a Thursday morning news conference.

“I’m excited to go out and meet people and tell the story of Nova Scotia, talk about what Nova Scotia has to offer and just build those relationships.

What Nova Scotia has to offer, according to statistics provided by the province’s communications staff, is $3.8 billion in goods exported to the United States in 2019.

The province exports approximately 400,000 Christmas trees to the United States each year, the province’s fourth largest agricultural export.

Trade with the United States supports 26,700 jobs in Nova Scotia.

NS Premier Tim Houston speaks at Province House on October 28, 2021. – Francis Campbell

Houston said he wants Nova Scotians to have confidence that the Progressive Conservative government is seeking opportunities and building relationships with U.S. trading partners.

Houston does not share a former Liberal premier’s passion for trade missions to China.

Former prime minister Stephen McNeil has traveled to the communist country eight times, trips that Houston criticized when he was in opposition.

“China is a big market, it’s a big market, but you’ll definitely see our government focusing on China,” Houston said.

“It’s about making sure there are other markets for our products. Having all your eggs in one basket is not a good thing. We sell a lot of seafood, especially to China. I would like to see these seafood products go to other markets as well, it’s just good for the province and good for the fishermen.

When reminded that China imports $1 billion worth of seafood from Nova Scotia every year, Houston replied, “It’s a big world.”

The premier said there are many other markets in Asia and it is important to diversify and ensure the province has markets for its products in different countries and regions.

“You will see our government focusing on new markets, additional markets across Europe, across Asia,” he said. “These are all discussions and opportunities that we are looking for.”

Houston said the trip to the United States will allow her to discuss shared priorities like tourism, trade and investment that will benefit the provincial economy and Nova Scotia businesses.

“I believe there is untapped potential in these markets for more Nova Scotia companies to drive growth and innovation,” he said. “There are a lot of things happening in Nova Scotia, a lot of good things are happening in this province and we want to tell that story and let people see Nova Scotia as a good partner for them.”

The provincial delegation accompanying the Prime Minister south of the Canadian border will include Chief of Staff Nicole LaFosse-Parker, Kelliann Dean, Deputy Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, and Darryl Eisan, Director of Canada-U.S. Relations at the Department of Intergovernmental Affairs.

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