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Hon. Yonah Martin: Honourable senators, the Conservatives believe in working hard and in providing assistance to the families of workers during this global recession.

Strengthening our ties with international trade partners and facilitating the free movement of goods and services across the border are some of the most important things we can do to help put Canada back on the road to prosperity.

Last weekend, Prime Minister Harper participated in the APEC leaders' summit in Singapore.

Right after the summit, he flew to India, where Canada has opened new trade offices in Hyderabad, Calcutta and Ahmedabad this year.

Honourable senators, India has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. It is estimated that one million Canadians of Indian origin and 7,300 Indian students currently live in Canada, which shows that these two countries have a strong bond.

Next, Prime Minister Harper will go to China from December 2 to 6, and to the Republic of Korea from December 6 to 7.

Honourable senators, China is Canada's third most important export partner, and leading up to the Prime Minister's visit, there have been 18 ministerial visits to China since 2006.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service office in Shanghai.

Last year, Canada announced plans to open six new trade offices in that country. Two are already open, and the other four should be open by the end of the year. South Korea is Canada's seventh-largest trading partner, with bilateral merchandise trade close to $10 billion.

By maintaining and strengthening our relationships with India, China and South Korea, our government is working hard internationally to end the global recession and put Canadians back to work as soon as possible.

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