Finance Minister Michael de Jong recently travelled to China and India to strengthen cultural, social and economic ties and promote British Columbia’s ongoing economic stability.
From Dec. 2 – 5, 2015, de Jong met with government officials and financial institutions in Beijing. While in Beijing, de Jong announced that the Province of British Columbia has received approval from the Peoples’ Bank of China to become the first sovereign government to establish a Panda bond program in China’s onshore Renminbi (RMB) market. The program’s approval now gives the Province unparalleled access to one of the largest capital markets in the world and is a significant step forward in supporting greater trade and investment opportunities with China.
In 2013 and 2014, the Province became the first sovereign government to enter the offshore RMB bond market, raising nearly C$1 billion with the two bonds. Those were followed by the announcement that Canada had been designated as an RMB trading hub, allowing for the use of RMB in B.C.-China trade and more efficient investment for Canadian financial institutions.
From Dec. 7 – 13, 2015, de Jong met with various industry and government representatives in New Delhi and Mumbai. Discussions partly explored how B.C.’s recent success in the RMB bond markets can be replicated in the Indian Rupee bond market.
In New Delhi, de Jong met with the Honourable Shri Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Finance, and the Honourable Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of State, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. He later attended a reception hosted by the Indian Infrastructure Finance Company Ltd. to discuss ways that British Columbia and India can enhance business and investment partnerships among the two jurisdictions.
In Mumbai, de Jong spoke at a reception hosted by B.C. Forestry Innovation Investment Ltd. Discussions at the reception focused on how British Columbia can help fulfil India’s growing demand for sustainably-sourced wood. He also spoke at a meeting hosted by the B.C. Trade and Investment office for businesses pursuing opportunities in B.C. India is forecast to become the fastest-growing major economy in 2015, and by 2030 it is estimated India will have a middle class of 475 million people.
The estimated travel and accommodation cost for the minister and his chief of staff is approximately $22,500. Information on final costs will be made available.