Commemorating the 20th anniversary of the B.C.-Guangdong Sister Province agreement and promoting exports in key sectors such as liquefied natural gas (LNG), agrifoods, clean technology and information and communications technology (ICT) are the focus of a fall trade mission to China by Premier Christy Clark.
Joining her will be International Trade Minister Teresa Wat who will also be making her first trip to Vietnam.
Premier Clark and Wat will travel to China Oct. 30 to Nov. 7, 2015, where they will make stops in Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong. Wat will continue on to Vietnam until Nov. 11. This will be Premier Clark’s third trade mission to China since 2011 and Wat’s fourth mission to China since 2013.
“My trade mission to China has two key goals – affirming our commitment to strong sister-province relations with Guangdong and developing new export markets with China,” said Premier Clark. “China is actively exploring alternative energy and is incorporating clean technology in areas such as transportation, smart grid and energy efficiency. These are areas where B.C. excels, and we want to make key connections so that we can work together to grow trade and investment in this sector.”
China is B.C.’s second-largest export market, worth $6.3 billion in 2014, a 375% increase in the last decade as a result of the B.C. government’s continued efforts to increase its presence in China and build strong trade ties. Guangdong is China’s most populous province with over 100 million people and is China’s largest province by gross domestic product (GDP) – $1 trillion in 2013.
B.C. and Guangdong are celebrating two decades of sister-province relations this year. This trade mission is a part of an action plan of activities that was signed by B.C. and Guangdong during the visit of Guangdong Governor Zhu Xiaodan in September 2014.
Wat is visiting Vietnam to drive increased awareness of B.C. products and services in Southeast Asia. As a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Vietnam is a large market of 90 million people that has a lot of trade potential. For example, B.C. exports to Vietnam have risen significantly in the past few years, from $49 million in 2010 to $104 million in 2014. This year’s exports are on track to rise a further 10%, with seafood products experiencing particularly high levels of growth.
“Our government wants to do everything it can to help B.C. businesses succeed in the global marketplace and create jobs through trade and investment,” said Wat. “On trade missions, we work to foster government-to-government and business-to-business relations that can ignite that growth.”
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. B.C. is already benefiting from significant investment from this region by companies such as Paper Excellence.
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.
- Most Canadians of Chinese descent (around 500,000 in B.C.) come from Guangdong and there are about 20,000 Canadians who live in Guangdong.
- British Columbia has expanded its trade and investment network in China and Hong Kong, with trade and investment representatives located in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong.
- Top B.C. goods exports to China to date in 2015 are pulp and paper and wood products.
- Top B.C. goods exports to Vietnam to date in 2015 are clams and oil cake.
For more information about B.C. trade and investment opportunities, visit: http://www.britishcolumbia.ca/
Learn more about the BC Jobs Plan: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/bcjobsplan/