Premier Christy Clark is building on record-setting 2010 sales of B.C. agrifood products to China by promoting seafood to about 100 seafood industry representatives and buyers as part of the largest-ever B.C. seafood delegation to China.
The Premier spoke to the seafood industry representatives in Guangzhou on the second full day of her Jobs Trade Mission to China and India. The major seafood importers, wholesalers, processors, and hotel and restaurant buyers are a significant part of China's multi-billion dollar seafood sector, with distribution networks throughout southern China.
"B.C. exported $80 million of seafood to China in 2010, and that number is only going to grow as we build relationships that expand the market for B.C.'s seafood products," said Premier Clark. "The representatives of B.C. seafood companies are excited about the success they are having here, and that excites me because it means more new dollars are headed to B.C. coastal communities."
Premier Clark addressed the buyers after two Memoranda of Understanding were signed between the sister-provinces of British Columbia and Guangdong that endorse enhanced trade of seafood and agrifood products. The five-year MOUs state the provinces will co-operate on the mutual identification of trade and investment opportunities and barriers, the exchange of technology and regulatory information.
Representatives from the B.C. seafood delegation, made up of about 30 B.C. seafood companies and organizations also attended Asia's largest seafood show in Qingdao, China, from Nov. 1-3, targeting sales of B.C. seafood to thousands of buyers from China and around the world.
"In China, government opening the door is extremely important," said Brendan Harnett, president of Vancouver-based Flying Fresh Air Freight, who attended the seafood show. "Often, higher-end customers will refuse to do business without it. Once government has done that, we can do the rest. We're really glad the B.C. government was here this year in such a visible way."
"From crab fisherman on the coast to tuna fishers in open waters, producers are excited about their expanding sales in the Chinese marketplace," said Agriculture Minister Don McRae.
"2011 is shaping up to be another record year for B.C. food exports to China with seafood leading the way. That means jobs on Vancouver Island and coastal communities with fishing and processing facilities."
In addition to the $80 million in seafood products, B.C. exported another $38 million in agri-food products to China in 2010. This included $6 million of both pork and food preparations (syrups, pastes and powders used in food and beverages) and $4.3 million of wine. The $118 million in combined seafood and agri-food exports to China is the most ever. Negotiations are also underway to allow B.C. beef and cherries access to the Chinese market.
B.C. agriculture, fish and seafood exports to China from Jan. 1 to Aug. 31, 2011 totalled $87 million, a 12-pe-cent increase from the same period in the record-setting 2010.
Guangdong has about 100 million residents and as a coastal province with a major port on the South China Sea, is one of China's trade and economic centrepieces. For details on British Columbia's seafood production and exports, the 2010 B.C. Seafood Year in Review is posted at: http://bcseafood.ca/PDFs/YIR-2010.pdf
As part of the BC Jobs Plan, Premier Christy Clark is leading the largest trade mission in the province's history to promote B.C. as a safe harbour for investment. The Jobs and Trade Mission is focused on strengthening existing relationships between B.C. and Asian markets, opening doors for new relationships and setting the stage for future opportunities in China and India.
Delegates from more than 130 companies and organizations are accompanying the Premier as part of the effort to defend and create jobs here at home. Health Minister Mike de Jong will also be accompanying the Premier during her time in India.
Japan and Hong Kong are also on the jobs and trade mission itinerary. Forests Minister Steve Thomson will travel to Japan and Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Pat Bell, ends his part of the mission in Hong Kong.
- What action can you take to inspire people to buy B.C. food? Won’t you join the conversation and share your ideas (engage.bcjobsplan.ca) .
Office of the Premier
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Ministry of Agriculture