Ottawa Mission Day One
We were up bright and early before dawn and arrived at the airport just at daybreak, weather looking good for a flight to the other side of the world. It’s very exciting to be going to China, if only we had the Enterprise transporter working by now. Five plus hours to Vancouver, three hour wait and then another 11 hours to Beijing is the pain before the gain on a typical trade and investment mission.
This brings back memories of long flights to distant lands to meet important customers back in the heady days of the telecom boom during the 90s.
Waiting at the airport on my just in time arrival (I don’t like to spend extra time at airports), is our mission team including the mayor of Ottawa and his chief of staff. At the request of OCRI, Mayor Larry O’Brien has agreed to lead a trade and investment mission to four cities in China over the next 10 days. Travelling to Asia is old-hat for the Mayor, having visited many times in his business persona, but this is his first time to China as the Mayor of the capital city of a G8 country.
So far, we have been treated very well by the Chinese with letters of invitation, visas and itineraries produced efficiently and as requested. Thankfully, we have the tireless Joan Sun as our coordinator for the mission. She not only took care of many of the protocol and logistics items but was willing and able to call Beijing at all times of the day and night to get everything ready for our trip.
The trade and investment mission includes: Mayor Larry O’Brien and Robert Thompson, the mayor’s adviser; OCRI; Ottawa Tourism; and eleven companies from the investment, Cleantech and ICT sectors. Representing OCRI is Mike Darch, Executive Director, Global Marketing, OCRI who is on his fifth mission to China over the past five years; Joan Sun, OCRI China Program Manager; and myself, Claude Haw, President and CEO, OCRI on my first trade mission since joining OCRI last year. Representing Ottawa Tourism is Noel Buckley, President, a frequent traveler to Asia and other areas of the world whose tourism perspective is very valuable.
While in China we hope to secure a number of new agreements and reaffirm others including the Sister City Cooperation agreement between Ottawa and Beijing. We will be meeting with groups of investors looking for bilateral investment opportunities, municipal officials considering alternatives for water, energy and waste infrastructure projects and companies looking for the latest innovation in information and communications technologies.
This is the first of many blog posts from our mission to China. Look for insight from a number of participants on the trip - everyone will have their own stories to tell!