Canada’s wireless industry lobby group is looking to build on its trade relationship with a Hong Kong technology industry association to broaden ties with other regions of the world. Peter Barnes, president and CEO of the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA), says discussions are ongoing with at least two other countries. "We’ve actually begun discussions with one other Asian-based organization. We’ve also had some overtures from one of the major European countries," he tells Report on Wireless in an interview. "There’s some discussion going on right now further to a visit one of our board members did two weeks ago for further collaboration." Further details on those two countries can’t yet be made public, he says. Two years ago, the CWTA created a trade member council to help deal with the growing number of non-service providers within the industry association’s fold. One of the key focuses of the trade member council was looking for export opportunities for these companies, which were primarily equipment manufacturers, software developers and applications providers. The trade council’s first success came when in March 2002 it inked a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Hong Kong Wireless Technology Industry Association (RoW, March 18/02). Barnes explains that the trade member council is made up of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and very large companies and they get together to discuss how membership in the CWTA can benefit them. "They were the group that shepherded and managed the implementation of the MOU with Hong Kong and they’re the group who would evaluate any future MOUs," he says. The success with the Hong Kong group can be largely credited to the balance between the two countries’ sectors. While Hong Kong has manufacturing and distribution expertise, the Canadian wireless industry has technology development smarts. Barnes says this model will be used in trying to secure agreements with other countries. "In any kind of strategic alliance, you want to get complementarity because if you are both bringing the same things to the table, at the end of the day you’re going to be stepping on each other’s toes. So we’re looking for complementarity whether it’s technology fit where one makes the hardware and the other is software or whether it’s access to markets. It doesn’t haven’t to be what we have with Hong Kong, it can be quite different. But from an analytical perspective it has to have complementarity." During a presentation at the Smart City Summit in Ottawa on April 27, Barnes said that Canadian companies could soon begin to benefit from the relationship with Hong Kong. He explained that there a couple of companies that might be on the verge of announcing formal agreements. "I’m hopeful that over the summer, we’ll see something," Barnes tells RoW in an interview after the session. "As I said, we know firms are dancing, but they haven’t decided to date yet. If they decide to date, I’m sure we’ll see (news) releases over the summer." While the wireless industry’s chief lobbyist says that more MOUs could be coming in the near future, the CWTA isn’t going to move too quickly. "The challenge for the association is that we don’t want to spread ourselves too thin. We’d rather do one thing or two things and do them right as opposed to trying to be all things to all people. It’s been a couple of years that we’ve had this MOU (with Hong Kong) and we’re now starting to get some results. These things, as they gain momentum, as people know about you, they start to think intuitively. So we are open to (more agreements), but of course we have to manage the level of investment, people-wise," Barnes explains.