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Agri-food, climate-tech lead Canada-in-Asia Conference

B.C. eyes Asia's growing appetite at February conference in Singapore
Jeff Nankivell, president and CEO of Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, speaks at the Canada-in-Asia Conference in 2023 which had more than 500 attendees.

B.C. companies and organizations aim to deepen engagements with Asia at the second annual Canada-in-Asian Conference, the largest conference of its kind.

The conference, co-hosted by Vancouver-based Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (APF Canada) and Universities Canada, will take place Feb. 26-29 in Singapore with a focus this year on agri-food and climate solutions.

“We … did a survey of [last year’s] participants where we asked them multiple-choice questions about what priority they would give to different sectors as themes for future conferences, and agri-food and climate came up at the top of their results,” said Jeff Nankivell, president and CEO of APF Canada.

He said these are two of the areas Canadian businesses and institutions see most opportunities for engagement with Asia.

“In agri-food, there is a high demand for technology related to, for example, management of water supplies and maintaining high quality of water supplies for agriculture [in Asia],” said Nankivell.

“There is [also] an interest in technologies related to alternative proteins and high potential for high-quality agricultural exports of commodities, like pulses and grains where the high quality and the strong environmental credentials of the Canadian product is increasingly competitive in Asia’s market.”

In January, the Canadian government opened a new Indo-Pacific Agriculture and Agri-Food Office in Manila to try to step up its presence and engagement in the agri-food sector in Asia.

Nankivell said there is also a high and growing demand in Asia for climate solutions, such as ammonia and green hydrogen, where Canada can be a potential reliable supplier.

“[There are opportunities in] things related to technologies for the management of energy efficiency in buildings, technologies related to emissions reduction in power plants and energy transition,” he said.

The first Canada-in-Asia Conference last year attracted more than 500 attendees from Canada and Asia, and exceeded its target, according to Nankivell. He hopes this year’s event will continue to build awareness of Canada among Asian businesses, especially parts of Asia that Canadians haven’t explored.

“We are hoping to achieve three things. One is to deepen and broaden the networks that connect people … across Asia who have an interest in Canada. The second objective is to showcase the best of what Canada has to offer in the [two] sectors for an influential audience of people based in Asia,” said Nankivell.

“And the third thing is for Canadians to come to the conference, we want to expose them to thought leaders from across Asia in the sectors.”

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