Promoting exports in B.C.’s priority sectors such as digital media, education, clean technology and life sciences is the focus of upcoming spring trade missions to Asia by Minister of International Trade Teresa Wat and Minister of Advanced Education Andrew Wilkinson.
Wat will be travelling to China and Indonesia March 27-April 9, 2015, and Wilkinson will travel to China from March 27-April 5, 2015. They will travel on separate programs, but have joint meetings scheduled with government representatives and business stakeholders.
Wat’s mission also includes travel to Indonesia, which is the largest market within the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). With over 600 million people and rapidly growing middle class, the ASEAN region represents a key growth market for British Columbia. Together, ASEAN markets rank fifth among destinations for B.C. goods exports and a number of major investments in B.C. have originated from ASEAN-based companies.
This is Wat’s third trip to Asia after travelling to China, Japan and Korea in November 2014 and to China as part of Premier Christy Clark’s fourth jobs plan related trade mission in November 2013.
Wat’s mission will focus on promoting B.C.’s information and communications technology (ICT) and digital media sectors and encouraging companies to locate their North American head offices in British Columbia.
Wat will be visiting a number of provinces, including Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Guangdong - some of the most advanced provinces in China. Consumers in these provinces are looking for western products, technology partners and new partnerships for services that B.C. can provide, such as graphic design, animation and information technology consulting.
This is the first international trade mission for Wilkinson as Minister of Advanced Education. He will be joined by representatives from four B.C. post-secondary institutions - the British Columbia Institute of Technology, Langara, Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia - and will meet with post-secondary education representatives in China to:
- Strengthen existing government to government education relations, and establish new relations, with a focus on key second-tier cities.
- Promote the two-way flow of students.
- Highlight pathways to further learning in British Columbia such as offshore schools to post-secondary institutions in B.C.
- Support and encourage institutional partnerships in a number of areas such as food and nutrition, information and communications technology, computing science, and vocational training.
China is B.C.’s second-largest export market, worth $6.3 billion in 2014, a result of the B.C. government’s continued efforts to increase its presence in China and build strong trade ties.
China has been the top source country for international students in B.C. since 2010-11. The number of students from China studying in the province has increased by 68% over three years, which reflects the commitment government, B.C. schools and institutions have made to strengthen and deepen the education relationship with this key partner.
Trade missions are a critical part of British Columbia’s strategy to diversify its international trading partners and secure new investment, propelling economic activity and job creation throughout the province.
Minister of International Trade Teresa Wat -
“Trade missions are an important part of British Columbia’s international engagement strategy to support economic growth and job creation throughout the province. Export markets are fiercely competitive, and what often sets you apart is the strength of your relationships. Trade missions give us an upper hand by bringing us face-to-face with key stakeholders, so we can continue to nurture our existing connections and develop new ones.
“I look forward to meeting with government officials and business representatives in China and Indonesia to promote our diverse export markets and generate new trade and investment opportunities for British Columbia.”
Minister of Advanced Education Andrew Wilkinson -
“There are more international students from China studying in B.C. than from any other country. China is an important partner in B.C.’s International Education Strategy, and many post-secondary institutions have strong existing ties with institutions in China. The mission is a great opportunity to encourage more students to choose B.C. as their study destination, and to encourage students from B.C. to study abroad.”
James Hursthouse, CEO and president of Roundhouse Interactive -
“Roadhouse has participated in a number of B.C. international trade missions in the past, and highly values the support of the B.C. government both at home in B.C. and abroad. The entire international trade organization has been instrumental in helping us establish, nurture, and capitalize on relationships with overseas companies, particularly in high-growth game markets such as Japan and South Korea. China has emerged as powerful player in the global games industry, and we look forward to continuing to build ties with Chinese companies through this next mission with international trade minister Teresa Wat.”
Andrew Petter, president, Simon Fraser University -
“This visit will enable SFU to further strengthen relationships with Chinese universities, including renewing our award-winning dual-degree computer science program with Zhejiang University and introducing the Minister to other SFU partner institutions.”
Dr. Lane Trotter, president and CEO, Langara College -
“Every year Langara welcomes many Chinese students to our classrooms. We look forward to meeting with some of our key education partners in Chongqing on this mission to ensure that we continue to be the preferred pathway for Chinese students in to B.C.'s high quality post-secondary system.”
Arvind Gupta, president, University of British Columbia -
“UBC looks forward to working with our government partners to strengthen our long-standing ties with China. This trip provides an opportunity to continue to learn from one another - building on more than 80 existing academic agreements and partnerships with our Chinese counterparts, and student and faculty exchanges involving thousands of people coming together to tackle some of the world’s most interesting research.”
International Trade Quick Facts:
- British Columbia has expanded its trade and investment network in China, Hong Kong, Korea and Japan with trade and investment representatives located in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Seoul and Tokyo.
- Top exports to China in 2014 were pulp and paper, wood and energy products.
- Top exports to Indonesia in 2014 were wood pulp, agrifoods and lumber.
International Education Quick Facts:
- In 2012-13, there were 112,800 international students from 180 countries around the world attending public and private post-secondary institutions, elementary and secondary schools, and private Languages Canada schools in British Columbia, up 20% from 94,000 over three years.
- Students from China made up the greatest proportion of international students in B.C. in 2012-13, with 25,800 attending all levels of education:
- 13,300 in public post-secondary institutions
- 5,800 in private post-secondary institutions
- 2,400 in private Languages Canada schools
- 4,300 in the kindergarten to grade 12 level
For more information about B.C. trade and investment opportunities visit: http://www.britishcolumbia.ca/
Learn more about the BC Jobs Plan at: www.bcjobsplan.ca
International Education: http://www.aved.gov.bc.ca/internationaleducation/
A backgrounder follows.
Ministry of International Trade
Ministry of Advanced Education
Participating companies and organizations
Businesses and organizations will often join government-led trade missions to take advantage of the opportunities to meet face-to-face with key stakeholders. The following list of businesses and organizations joining Ministers Teresa Wat and Andrew Wilkinson on their upcoming trade missions is subject to change prior to the departure date.
Minister Teresa Wat’s delegation:
- Star Solutions
- ThinkEco Power Systems Corporation
- Clevest Solutions Inc.
- Istuary Innovation Labs
- Roadhouse Interactive
- Incognito Software
- Linquet Technologies Inc.
- Ballard Power Systems
- Pelesys Learning Systems Inc.
- China Gold International Resources Corp.
- TMX Equity Transfer Services
- HQ Vancouver
- Clark Wilson LLP
- Davis LLP
Minister Andrew Wilkinson’s delegation:
- BC Council for International Education
- British Columbia Institute of Technology
- Langara College
- Simon Fraser University
- University of British Columbia
Ministry of International Trade
Ministry of Advanced Education