Canada issues vote of confidence in London's future with new export hub

Jake Cordell
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Canada House, Trafalgar Square
Canada House will host the launch event for Export Development Canada's new export hub (Source: Getty)

Canada is to open a brand new trade hub in London this week in a big vote of confidence in the capital's post-referendum economy.

Export Development Canada (EDC), the Canadian government's official export support service designed to help its firms crack in to new markets and win investment from around the world, will launch its second European operation at a swanky event in Canada House on Thursday.

Stephen Wilhelm, regional vice president of EDC told City A.M. he chose London due to its strong financial services sector, and its ability to act as a gateway for Canadian businesses to the rest of Europe along with Africa and the Middle East.

"We're absolutely delighted to open a representation here," Wilhelm said. "It reflects both the existing trade and investment ties between Canada and the UK, but more importantly it shows the confidence we have in the future.

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"Our London representation is not just a UK story, but from our London representation we will be conducting our activities for western Europe."

EDC said the outcome of the EU referendum did not deter them from launching in the UK. The EDC, which unashamedly promotes the free trade and looser regulations on exports and imports, said it had received a lot of enquiries from UK firms hoping to break into Canada following the signing of the Canada-EU trade deal earlier this year.

That agreement, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is yet to be ratified, although it has been cited as a potential model for the UK to follow with its upcoming negotiations with the EU.

On choosing the capital over other European cities, EDC's Wilhelm said: "Part of the reason for being in London is to strengthen, deepen and broaden our relationships with financial institutions and to create opportunities in Europe, Africa and the Middle East."

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Following the EU referendum, the EDC said it expects some other European finance hubs "to grow in prominence. But we certainly don't expect London to be wiped off the map."

Just like Canadians see the UK as a entry point to Europe and beyond, the EDC is promoting investment and trade with Canada as a gateway to the Americas.

"Investing in Canada can certainly be viewed as a channel to North and South America and even to Asia from our West Coast. Canada has the infrastructure and the trade agreements to support many kinds of Canadian footprint, and as a trading nation we have a vested interest in ongoing trade, whether its with the US, Mexico or further afield."

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