Thank you very much. I've lived in Ottawa, but it's nice to be back in my home province as well. I retreated home after government service.
I struggled, as did others, in the office in Taipei with trying to level that balance somewhat. It's typical of many of our trading relationships with Asia—China is an example—where we are at a huge disadvantage in terms of the exchange. You can't expect a balance of trade with all of our partners, as it doesn't work that way, but we should be doing better ultimately. It took us a long time to get beef back into that market, so I'm hopeful that with quality products—of course, as you know, Alberta exports some 80% of the beef from this country—that will occur.
In Taiwan there are some non-tariff barriers to trade. They make it difficult for us sometimes in terms of labelling and regulations, and the job of the mission there is to make sure we're being treated fairly.
The United States has a powerful presence because they are the security guarantor for Taiwan, so all things being equal, that U.S. influence comes to bear. I was there at a time when they got a pass on beef and we did not, for reasons that really had all to do with politics and just clout, but Canadians can be persistent, and we need to be. Don't expect that root balance to be overturned overnight. I think it's a question of time and persistence.
Quite frankly, Canadian business people could sometimes be more aggressive. I've seen the phenomenon in my career of where folks get used to trading in Minnesota, and maybe Georgia is a little bit exotic, but we'll give it a try. The advantage of Australia, in my view, is they are in that part of the world. They had no choice but to adapt to very difficult circumstances. We have the luxury and the burden of having such a great market next door, so that leap to knowing another culture, knowing another language.... Mr. Weston was an example of that. That's a tough job for many Canadian business people. We have no choice, or we're going to be forever super-dependent upon that great market to the south.