Power Panel

Public, private sector leaders share views on bilateral business

On November 19 at Roppongi Hills Club, a luncheon and panel discussion were hosted by the Business Council of Canada (BCC) and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan (CCCJ).

Founded in 1976, the BCC is a not-for-profit, non-partisan organization representing business leaders in every region and sector of Canada. Its member companies employ some 1.7 million Canadians, contribute the largest share of federal corporate taxes, and are responsible for most of Canada’s exports, corporate philanthropy and private-sector investments in research and development.

During the event, a group of Canada’s top business leaders spoke about strengthening Japan–Canada relations, taking advantage of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and Canada’s role as a reliable and secure supplier of natural resources.

Delivering the opening remarks was Alberta Province’s Associate Minister of Natural Gas Dale Nally, who spoke about the strong business links between Japan and Alberta. He also discussed ways in which his home province was making itself even more business friendly by cutting down on regulatory red tape.

Earlier on his trip to Asia, during which he was promoting natural gas from Alberta and meeting with global stakeholders, Nally had attended the GZERO Summit — a forum for experts in government, industry and media — to discuss ways in which global challenges are influencing local politics. He later went to South Korea.

A panel discussion was held following Nally’s remarks at the luncheon. The panellists were:

  • Don Lindsay, President and CEO of Teck Resources Limited, Canada’s largest diversified mining company, which is headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Dawn Farrell, president and CEO of TransAlta, the largest provider of clean energy in Canada, based in Calgary, Alberta
  • Jeff Zweig, president and CEO of Vancouver-based Mosaic Forest Management, Western Canada’s largest private managed-forest land owner

A common theme during the panel discussion was the CPTPP.

The discussion was moderated by Goldy Hyder, president and CEO of the BCC.

In their opening statements, the three panellists spoke about the responsibility that businesses have when it comes to serving their communities, the importance of working constructively with government agencies, and the deeply positive influence that Canada and Japan could have on the global economy by working as partners.

A common theme during the panel discussion was the CPTPP. Even though not all of the companies represented by their leaders at the event were directly affected by the trade pact, they did recognize the incredible opportunities that it opens up for business between Japan and Canada.

Another point of focus was abiding connections between the two countries, both in terms of business and shared values. One panellist spoke about the strengths of the Japanese banking system, while another addressed the remarkable loyalty that they have seen when collaborating with long-term Japanese clients and customers.

Representing companies from both the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia, the panellists emphasized the need to work together to foster a positive business climate. They also discussed the importance of working hand-in-hand with provincial governments, and the mindset involved in negotiating political change while keeping a business running smoothly.

Following the panel discussion, the participants took questions from the attendees. They asked about matters ranging from some of the specifics of how the business leaders’ companies work together with Japan, to the finer points of blending politics and business.

The afternoon provided an excellent opportunity for those in the audience to gain a deeper understanding of Canada–Japan business ties and the ways in which industry and government can work hand in hand for their mutual benefit.

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