Export, Innovate, Invest - The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service

Join us in China!

Canada Trade Mission to China

Dates: May 18 - 23, 2014
Cities: Shanghai, Nanjing, Guangzhou
Focus: Sustainable Technologies – Soil remediation, Water and wastewater
Led by: The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade

Registration deadline : April 23, 2014

Visa, Program and Other Important Information

View/download the flyer in PDF (417 KB)

Who should participate?

Sector-focused Canada Trade Missions are one of the many ways the Government of Canada supports Canadian companies, particularly small-and-medium enterprises, explore and succeed in foreign markets. Companies in the following areas would benefit from participating in this trade mission:

Soil Remediation

  • Soil vapor extraction, solidification, & stabilization, chemical/biological oxidation, thermal desorption, gas thermal remediation and related technologies;
  • Sludge treatment and sludge dredging;
  • Contamination assessment services, project testing and risk evaluation;
  • Manufacturers of related remediation equipment;
  • Consultancy and training providers;
  • Manufacturers of equipment for soil monitoring and analysis;
  • Producers of reagents (stabilizers for heavy metals treatment, oxidants for treating organic contamination, bioremediation reagents), and
  • Technical support (consultation services, standards monitoring).

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Water and Wastewater

  • Water services, engineering and consulting;
  • Water infrastructure, construction & rehabilitation;
  • Wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse;
  • Water distribution and management;
  • Water quality analysis and water analytics;
  • Flood protection infrastructure;
  • Urban and rural wastewater and sewerage, including sewage treatment;
  • De-nitrification and de-phosphorization technology and devices for sewage treatment plants;
  • Urban river aquatic environment rehabilitation;
  • Providers of controls and instrumentation;
  • Sanitation and sludge handling and treatment; and
  • Consultancy & training providers.

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The Markets

China Overview

China, a priority country under the Global Markets Action Plan (GMAP), is one of Canada’s fastest growing markets and is Canada’s second largest trading partner. China is the largest and fastest growing market for water technologies in the world. All levels of government are dedicating resources and mandating action to combat the great pollution challenges that China faces.

China's 12th Five Year Plan (2011-2015) continues to guide policy makers and businesses. One of its key themes is to produce in a more environmentally friendly manner. The Five Year Plan specifically identifies energy conservation/environmental protection as one of seven strategic emerging industries. More specifically, the Five Year Plan includes commitments to build 3,000 additional wastewater treatment plants across the country, achieve 85% urban water treatment rate and invest around $319 billion in water conservation projects. The government will support these strategic emerging industries and will use incentives to encourage financial institutions to provide more credit to these sectors and adjust tax policy to encourage innovation and investment.

In his first annual policy report on March 4, 2014, Premier Li Keqiang told the National People’s Congress that China will declare a “war on pollution.” Premier Li called recent levels of pollution “nature’s red-light warning” against China’s unsustainable model of economic development.

China faces serious challenges related to wastewater treatment. Central government reports indicate that 39% of rivers, 58% of lakes and 57% of groundwater sources are considered “heavily polluted”. At the municipal level, there is increased focus on water recycling and conservation and aggressive cuts to water intensity in the industrial sector.

China’s rapid economic development has also resulted in chronic soil contamination. Nearly 100,000 industrial plants were closed and relocated between 2001 and 2009, leaving huge swaths of polluted land. A new national Soil Environmental Protection Law and Action Plan for Soil Rehabilitation are expected to come into effect later in 2014.


Shanghai is the largest Chinese city by population and one of the largest cities by population in the world, with a total population of around 24 million as of 2013. It is a global financial center and a transport hub with the world's busiest container port. Located in the Yangtze River Delta in East China, Shanghai sits at the mouth of the Yangtze River in the middle portion of the Chinese coast.

Despite boasting among the country’s highest rate of urban water treatment and access to drinking water, Shanghai faces environmental challenges due to its aging infrastructure and its position downstream of major polluters along the Yangtze River.

In January, Mayor Yang Xiong announced that investment in environmental protection would be maintained at around 3 percent of Shanghai’s total economic output of around $350 billion. Authorities closed 660 industrial facilities in 2013 and there are plans to eliminate an additional 500 in 2014.

While demonstrating how serious Shanghai is about environment protection, these closures will also create demand for decontamination projects in the coming years to rehabilitate contaminated land. Many of the facilities closed and relocated in the last decade were located in or near downtown urban areas, now prime targets for developers. Under the current legal regime, government and the company acquiring land-use rights are primarily responsible for remediation costs.


Nanjing is the capital of Jiangsu province in eastern China and has a prominent place in Chinese history and culture, having been the capital of China on several occasions. Located in the lower Yangtze River drainage basin and Yangtze River Delta economic zone, Nanjing has long been one of China's most important cities. It has an urban population of over seven million people. Nanjing has long been a national centre of education, research, transport networks and tourism. The city will host the 2014 Summer Youth Olympics. Nanjing is the second-largest commercial centre in East China after Shanghai.

Nanjing is one of the most concentrated manufacturing bases and environmental engineering services centres in China. Jiangsu is home to two national-level environmental Science and Technology industrial parks, in Yixing and Suzhou. Foreign investors in these parks normally have access to favourable taxation and land, low-cost electricity and financing.

As in Shanghai, urban sewage and industrial waste remain the main sources of pollution. Jiangsu Provincial Government invests heavily in environmental remediation and, compared to other Chinese jurisdictions, regulates stringently on industrial site rehabilitation.


Guangzhou, known historically as Canton, is the capital and largest city of Guangdong province. Located on the Pearl River, about 120 km north-northwest of Hong Kong and north-northeast of Macau, Guangzhou is a key national transportation hub and trading port. Guangzhou is the third largest Chinese city and southern China's largest city. The city has an estimated population of about 13 million.

In April of 2013, the Guangdong government approved the “Action Plan for Cleaner Water in Guangdong” with target milestones in 2013, 2015 and 2020 for improved water quality in the province. The Guangdong Government will invest around $21.1 billion in 7 key water-related projects including: 1) water treatment; 2) drinking water security; 3) water source protection; 4) improvement in efficiency for existing facilities; 5) water accessibility landscape; 6) water statistics monitoring; and; 7) promotion.

Of this investment, $7.2 billion will be earmarked for the construction and expansion of major wastewater treatment plants, improvement of wastewater pipelines and wastewater renewal systems.

The problem of soil pollution and contamination in the province was brought to the media’s attention in May 2013 when a study by the Guangzhou Food and Drug Administration revealed that nearly half of the 18 rice samples they had tested in their market were found to contain an excessive level of cadmium. Two subsequent surveys in other parts of Guangdong showed contamination levels of 5.8% and 1.4% of the rice supply.

These stories spurred the province to implement a number of measures to address the soil contamination issue, such as the establishment of a soil quality monitoring system by Guangdong’s Department of Environmental Protection by 2015. Furthermore, the Guangdong government released a work plan and technical solutions for pollution remediation of arable land. The related soil treatment plans are currently under review and are expected to come in effect by the end of 2014.

Soil contamination affects more than just arable land. In 2012, Guangzhou invested USD 31M (CNY190M) to tackle heavy metal pollution in soil, and forced 492 polluted enterprises to close. In July 2014, the Guangdong Department of Land and Resources disclosed that 28% of soil samples collected from various areas of the Pearl River Delta contain excessive levels of mercury, cadmium, lead and arsenic.

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Sustainable Technologies

Soil Remediation

Several decades of rapid industrial development combined with lax or non-existent environmental regulations have given rise to widespread soil contamination. Mass relocation of industries from city centres in recent decades has exacerbated the problem, leaving behind large parcels of land that are highly contaminated but also very desirable for developers. Other major sources of pollution include sewage irrigation, atmospheric sedimentation and pesticides.

According to the 2010 “World Bank report, Overview of the Current Situation on Brownfield Remediation and Redevelopment in China”, many sites are contaminated to several meters below the surface and contain heavy metals and total volatile organic compounds, several hundred times the recommended safe levels. Although it is widely acknowledged that many Chinese cities and industrial bases face serious soil contamination problems, official government reports on levels of soil contamination remain a state secret.

Recently some pertinent data was released. For example, on December 30, 2013, China’s Ministry of Land and Resources reported that 3.33 million hectares of farmland are heavily contaminated. The actual figure is likely in excess of 10% of China’s total arable land. Sources estimate that as much as 130 million hectares of land (an area larger than the province of Ontario) may be contaminated.

While waiting for a comprehensive national soil pollution strategy and regulatory regime, local and provincial governments have taken steps to regulate soil contamination for new and brownfield development. As a result, an increasing number of soil remediation projects are taking place in and around China’s major cities. In 2013, 42 projects were launched across China: 19 projects were undertaken by the government directly, and the remaining 23 were undertaken by enterprises. Existing projects range in size from 3,000 to 500,000 tonnes and long-term projects may number in the thousands.

Key players in the market include local and provincial governments, research institutes, large enterprises, engineering firms and environmental remediation companies with existing projects soliciting technology partners or technical expertise.

Water and Wastewater

The China market is driven by almost ubiquitous heavily polluted water resources, water scarcity and massive public investment in water resources and technologies. This creates market opportunities for Canadian companies across the sustainable technologies spectrum.

Key players in the market range from Central government, provincial and municipal governments and heavy industry to engineering companies and design institutes. Foreign companies with major presence include Vivendi, Lyonnaise and Thames.

Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service can support Canadian companies by providing market intelligence, advising them on best practices and helping Canadian businesses to connect with the right partners. The upcoming Canada Trade Mission is an excellent way for Canadian companies to begin or develop their business in China.

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For additional market information

Canadian Trade Commissioner Service:

Export Development Canada:

For information on the Canada Trade Mission

Carrie Marr, Trade Commissioner
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
Tel.: 343-203-2767