Canada's Finance Minister Jim Flaherty delivers a speech to the Canadian Council of Chief Executives conference in Ottawa September 25, 2012. REUTERS/Chris Wattie
OTTAWA – Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is telling Canada's business community to go out and grab ahold of the opportunities in the Asia-Pacific.
Speaking at a conference held by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives on Tuesday, Flaherty said the federal government is stepping up to the plate to boost this country's trade with the economically emerging region.
But he told the audience "private-sector business investment must also help lay the foundation for a sustained, long-run expansion of Canada’s economy and job growth."
Flaherty boasted the federal government is "aggressively pursuing" its trade agenda in the region, which is projected to contribute to a third of all global economic growth between now and 2025.
But John Manley, who heads the council, said Canadian businesses are gun-shy about investing because of the ongoing U.S. and European financial instability.
"Businesses invest when they see opportunity to invest, and they conserve cash when they see risk," he told reporters.
He added the Conservative government still has work of its own to do if it wants business to invest time, effort and money in gaining an Asian foothold, including increasing trade missions and concluding key free-trade deals currently under negotiation with a number of Asia-Pacific nations.