Premier Christy Clark met with a delegation of high-ranking government officials from the Guangdong province of China this morning to agree on shared actions to strengthen historic ties and take co-operation in new directions.
The delegation of more than 200 business and government officials was led by His Excellency Hu Chunhua, Member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Party Secretary of the Guangdong Provincial Committee.
During the visit, Premier Clark and Party Secretary Hu discussed the need to continue building on the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by Premier Clark and Governor Zhu Xiaodan in November 2015. Developed during the 20th anniversary of sister-province relations between British Columbia and Guangdong province, the MOU committed the two provinces to expand and strengthen their cooperation on climate change and low carbon development.
- Low carbon development and clean technology: British Columbia and Guangdong will jointly pursue opportunities for collaboration in the fields of low carbon development and clean technology, including promoting co-operative relations between the clean technology sectors in their respective provinces and encouraging the innovative use of clean technologies and energy efficient goods and services to support transition to a lower carbon economy and cleaner environment.
- China’s One Belt One Road Initiative: British Columbia and Guangdong will work co-operatively to leverage new and existing transportation partnerships to strengthen the trade capacity of their respective gateway and corridor networks, expand cooperation in the natural gas sector and enhance cooperation in marine scientific research and environmental practices, maritime transportation, shipbuilding and repair, and fisheries and seafood.
- E-commerce and information communication technology: British Columbia and Guangdong will jointly pursue opportunities for collaboration in the areas of e-commerce and information and communication technology, including encouraging companies to retail their goods and services on E-commerce platforms to customers in their respective provinces, promoting further partnerships in innovation around 5G networks and encouraging trade and investment in information and communication technology infrastructure and services.
- Education: British Columbia and Guangdong will reaffirm their existing education relationship through a renewed Memorandum of Understanding on Two Way Educational Exchange and Promotion Cooperation between the Ministries of Education and Advanced Education of British Columbia and the Department of Education of Guangdong Province. This arrangement includes priority areas for cooperation including teacher and student exchanges, strengthened vocational education and joint research.
- Trade and Investment: British Columbia and Guangdong reaffirm their desire to strengthen trade and investment relations, especially in existing and emerging priority goods and services sectors advanced by British Columbia and Guangdong business leaders during Party Secretary Hu’s visit.
China is British Columbia’s second-largest trading partner and is identified as a priority market in the BC Jobs Plan. Hosting delegations is a critical part of British Columbia’s strategy to strengthen and diversify its international trading partners and secure new investment, propelling economic activity and job creation throughout the province.
Premier Christy Clark –
“Today’s meeting was another example of our commitment to strong sister-province relations with Guangdong and working together to address climate change. China is actively exploring alternative energy and adopting clean technology, areas where B.C. excels. We are working together to grow trade and investment in this sector and create opportunity and jobs in British Columbia.”
Honourable Hu Chunhua, Party Secretary of the Guangdong Provincial Committee –
“Guangdong wishes to join hands with B.C. in growing our strong and mutually beneficial business and trade relationship. By working together, and sharing our experiences and expertise, both of our provinces will continue to grow in harmony.”
- Guangdong is China’s most populous province with more than 100 million people and is among the world's 15 biggest economies, with a GDP of more than US$ 1 trillion (CNY7.28 trillion in 2015).
- B.C. has the second-largest Chinese community in Canada (almost 500,000 individuals identify themselves as being of Chinese ethnic origin).
- Guangdong is the ancestral homeland of a large proportion of the British Columbians of Chinese heritage.
- B.C. premiers and ministers have visited Guangdong on several occasions over the past decade and concluded numerous MOUs in support of the overall twinning relationship.
- There are five pairs of sister cities between B.C. and Guangdong: Vancouver-Guangzhou, Surrey-Zhuhai, Burnaby-Zhongshan, North Vancouver-Huizhou and New Westminster-Yunfu.
- In 1995, B.C.-Guangdong formed a sister-province relationship.
- B.C. and Guangdong have two sister ports: Vancouver International Airport-Guangzhou International Airport and Vancouver Port-Guangzhou Port.
- B.C. opened a Trade and Investment office in Guangzhou in February 2009 that is currently staffed by six trade and investment representatives.
- The governor of Guangdong visited B.C. in September 2014 and opened a Guangdong trade and investment representative office in Vancouver.
- China has become one of B.C.’s most important economic partners, second only to the United States. Twenty years ago, B.C. exported just over $300 million worth of goods to China annually. In 2014, $6.3 billion worth of goods was exported to China.