Belgian Ambassador to Canada Patrick Van Gheel paid an official visit to Saskatchewan October 24-27 to “strengthen the growing ties between Belgium and the province.” Links that are intended to be primarily economic in nature.
“ “Belgium is an important buyer of Saskatchewan potash and the main point of entry for Saskatchewan products into Europe,” explains the ambassador.
In 2022, exports from Saskatchewan to Belgium increased by 32% compared to 2021, for a total value of 591 million Canadian dollars, the spokesperson adds.
Other important exports from Saskatchewan include mustard seeds, rapeseed, lentils and soybeans.
“ I believe that now, with the war in Ukraine, we will have even more exports from Saskatchewan to my country », analyzes Patrick Van Gheel.
From Brussels to Regina
The ambassador also discussed cooperation in the areas of higher education, culture and French-speaking affairs.
“ The University of Regina has six agreements with four partner institutions in Belgium, which facilitates the mobility of students and professors,” emphasizes Everett Dorma, public affairs strategist at the University of Regina.
Agricultural and energy products are among Saskatchewan’s main sources of exports. Photo credit: Canada Trade
These institutions include UCLL University of Applied Sciences, Albert Jaquard High School, Catholic University of Leuven and Artevelde University College Ghent.
The Régine University also welcomes six exchange students from Belgium. “ We expect that the meetings with the Ambassador will promote additional opportunities for student and faculty mobility between the University of Regina and post-secondary institutions in Belgium » adds Everett Dorma.
The Belgian ambassador to Canada took advantage of his visit to also meet Prime Minister Scott Moe and other members of the provincial government.
These official meetings focused on various economic sectors, including agriculture, energy, potash and essential minerals. All with the aim of increasing trade and investment between the two regions.
The diplomat did not meet with French organizations during his visit. “ We knew nothing about the Ambassador’s itinerary and were not approached to meet with him during his visit to Saskatchewan “, notes Marc Masson, policy analyst at the Fransaskoise Community Assembly (ACF).
“ “I believe that the purpose of his visit was primarily economic, we remained under his radar,” the analyst continues. Additionally, the ACF was very busy with the national meetings being held in Saskatoon, so unfortunately we were unable to take the lead and contact them for a meeting. »
In addition, Patrick Van Gheel began his official visit to Saskatoon, where he met several entrepreneurs from his country: Belgian malt producer Boortmalt, fertilizer giant Canpotex and chocolate manufacturer Harden & Huyse Chocolates.
The second part of his visit took place in Regina and was dedicated to the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership and the University of Regina.
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