Event Report: Japan-Canada Trade and Investment Seminar

On November 26th, CCCJ members were invited by the Japan-Canada Chambers Council (JCCC) to participate in the Japan-Canada Trade and Investment Seminar, highlighting current market conditions and potential opportunities to strengthen Japan-Canada commercial ties with a particular focus on energy and innovation. The discussion underscored the potential to expand bilateral trade and investment in the alternative energy market and mobilize resources to accelerate collaboration between Japanese and Canadian innovators. 

Opening the seminar, Mr. Tatsuo Yasunaga (Mitsui & Co, Ltd.) presented on key objectives, including promoting synergies between Japan and Canada through the CPTPP and USMCA Agreement and prioritizing the use of technology to expand opportunities for innovative collaboration. 

To begin our discussion on energy, Mr. Dan Woznow (AltaGas) introduced Canada’s key role in the global energy fuel transition, pointing to Canada’s lead in ammonia and hydrogen production as an opportunity to strengthen commercial ties. Japan is strategically advantaged to leverage Canada’s value chains to offset Japan’s use of non-renewable fuels, promoting energy security and progress toward net-zero carbon economies. To make this a reality, long-term purchase commitment from Japan is needed in order to move the agenda forward in Canada, in addition to reliable rail and pipeline infrastructure and active participation of both governments at all levels. 

Mr. Hiroki Haba (Mitsubishi Corporation) continued to discuss current projects promoting high potential next-generation fuels in Japan and Canada. Through Mitubishi’s Energy Canada Project, the company recently signed an MoU with Shell Canada for hydrogen production in Alberta. Mr. Haba elaborated on potential opportunities for Mitsubishi to invest further in the province through fuel ammonia activities and long-term CCS projects. 

Ms. Tabatha Laverty (Accelerator Center) opened our discussion on innovation, discussing the unique advantages of Waterloo’s Innovation Ecosystem as a top tech startup hub and the opportunities for Japan to collaborate with Canadian startups. Accelerator Center is uniquely positioned to foster international partnerships between Canada and Japan through their Global Gateway Initiatives and their Startup Visa program; ideal for tech startups seeking to enter the Canadian market. 

Mr. Takeshi Saito (JETRO Toronto) highlighted key projects promoting innovative partnerships between Canada and Japan including the Global Acceleration Hub and the Generating Innovation in Japan, opening the doors for B2B connections. Mr. Takeshi Saito highlighted clean technology as a key area for collaboration and discussed the need for more knowledge-sharing between Canada and Japan’s ecosystems and promoting resources (human resources, funds, etc.), to accelerate partnerships. 

We were pleased to hear from H.E. Yasuhisa Kawamura, Ambassador of Japan to Canada and H.E. Ian McKay, Ambassador of Canada to Japan, both delivering a keynote speech on the latest developments in energy and innovation. Mr. Steve Dechka (JCCC Canada Co-Chair) and Mr. Perrin Beatty (President and CEO, Canadian Chamber of Commerce) closed our discussion by emphasizing priority areas including growing commercial engagement through the CPTPP and related trade agreements, fostering connections through more knowledge-sharing, and building inter-generational knowledge to involve youth as active members in Japan-Canada’s relationship. 

CCCJ would like to sincerely thank our host, JCCC, for this opportunity and would like to give big hands to our Vice-Chair Annamarie Sasagawa for moderating the session. We look forward to future opportunities to further strengthen the ties between Japanese and Canadian business communities through discussion and collaboration.