PLANT

CAE CEO calls on feds to help win big business in Asia’s growing market

Parent says recent pushing has opened doors in Southeast Asia's fast-growing emerging markets.


KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – One of Canada’s top aerospace entrepreneurs says Southeast Asia’s growing middle class is the key to economic growth – and Canadian government presence in the region can help win that business.

Marc Parent, the chief executive officer of Montreal-based CAE, is in Kuala Lumpur with Prime Minister Stephen Harper in advance of the coming Asia-Pacific leaders’ summit.

Parent’s firm sells flight simulators and does all the pilot training for Air Asia, a discount airline that’s the fastest growing in the region.

Canadian governments have been criticized for being slow to place enough emphasis on doing business with the emerging economies of Southeast Asia, but Parent says a push in the past couple of years has helped open doors.

Harper is the first Canadian prime minister to visit Malaysia since 1996 but his arrival fell in the shadow of a state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping, whose presence was front-page news.

As a result, Harper had a light agenda Saturday, touring a maritime air base and a mosque, and holding a round table with Canadian business leaders, before he’s formally welcomed by Malaysia’s prime minister on Sunday.

©The Canadian Press