Adrienne Harry

In 2014, the Munk School of Global Affairs launched the CanAsia mapping project to better track Canada’s commercial relationship with Asia. Taking the spread of information a step further, the Canada China Business Council (CCBC) launched a China-specific version of the map on their website on January 26.

The map, supervised by Deanna Horton, visiting senior fellow at the Munk School, is an interactive tool that uses publicly available data from Canadian companies to visualize Canada’s footprint in Asia. It aims to give businesses, academics and governments a big picture view of Canadian enterprise overseas.

“There is no doubt that the relationship with the world’s second-largest economy is an issue facing Canada’s policymakers,” says Stephen Toope, director of the Munk School of Global Affairs. “The Munk School is pleased to contribute its research to the conversation, through easily accessible data in digital format such as the CanAsia mapping project.”

Horton points out that some of the trade data being collected by policymakers may not be telling the whole story regarding Canada’s movement in China.

“In order to sell goods to China, you don’t necessarily have to have a presence there. But companies in the services sector tend to be in the market,” says Horton. “Our map shows who is actually on the ground in China and Hong Kong.”

The map launch comes just before the release of a new policy book on Canada-China relations written by experts from eight Canadian universities, including faculty from the Munk School. The book, called Moving Forward: 45 Years of Canada-China Relations, examines health cooperation, geopolitical disputes and bilateral investments. A launch event for the book will take place on February 4.

As for the mapping project, Horton hopes that by making statistics interactive and easy to consume, policymakers and business professionals alike have access to data that can help them make more informed, comprehensive decisions about international trade.

“It’s a tool to see potential clients, partners, identify trends and potentially forge partnerships,” says Horton. “There has been a lot of work done on goods, but both the services sector and small- or medium-sized enterprises are underrepresented in terms of research.”

January 26, 2016