Advancing strategic relationship with China and Asia must become a priority says CIBC's PrenticeCALGARY, Sept. 27, 2012 /CNW/ - CIBC (CM: TSX) (CM: NYSE) — Canada must look past the United States if it wants to continue to gain access in the gas and oil markets, says the Hon. Jim Prentice, Vice-Chair of CIBC. Speaking today in Calgary at a speech hosted by the University of Calgary's School of Public Policy about possible outcomes in the U.S. elections and changes to the leadership in China, Mr. Prentice laid out a number of challenges that must be addressed to ensure Canada remains competitive in the energy market. "We are in the midst of a moment of great consequence for our energy industry," says Mr. Prentice. "For decades we've been going about our business in a certain way; comfortable and content within the North American marketplace." Canada has been a critical supplier of energy to the United States, the world's largest economy, and crude oil alone accounts for 15 per cent of our exports. Canada has been fortunate to have ample natural resources and is fortunate to live next to a country that has been in need of those natural resources. But the world is changing and Canada must adapt, Mr. Prentice says. "Simply put, we need to better understand our changing world and what it means for us," says Mr. Prentice. "In geo-political terms, this is a highly consequential year for Canada. This fall, an election in the United States and an election of sorts in China will serve to further demonstrate just how dependent Canada is in our new global world." Next month, many of China's leaders will be stepping down and Canada and the world will begin watching to see how a new government will manage China's growth and conduct its international relationships. The presidential election in the United States also brings two different views to the energy file although with one common element. "Under either administration, I think it's safe to say the Americans will pursue their own interests quite aggressively," says Mr. Prentice. "And though they are great partners, we can't be lulled into believing that their interests and our interests on energy will ever be the same."