Premier John Horgan and ministers concluded a successful mission to China, South Korea and Japan to develop relationships and pave the way for job creation throughout B.C.
“We worked hard to showcase to three of our largest trading partners what B.C. has to offer in a number of key economic sectors,” said Premier Horgan. “The connections we made on this trip will grow markets, attract investment, benefit B.C. businesses and ultimately create good jobs for people in B.C. That’s why we went and I’m proud of what we were able to accomplish.”
The 10-day trip included business roundtables, numerous networking events and face-to-face meetings with government officials and business leaders with operations in B.C. or those considering expanding to British Columbia. Premier Horgan was joined by Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology Bruce Ralston and Minister of State for Trade George Chow, who participated in targeted meetings with potential business partners in all three countries. Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Lisa Beare took part in tourism-related events in China.
The goal of the visit was to strengthen relationships with top government and business leaders in all three countries and to lay the foundation for future partnerships in technology and innovation, tourism, forestry, energy, manufacturing and agriculture, and to secure continued economic growth.
“This trip was a great opportunity to make a strong case for why businesses in China, South Korea and Japan should invest in B.C.,” said Ralston. “The meetings I participated in provided me with an opportunity to highlight B.C.’s strengths in key sectors, and I expect these positive exchanges will go far in strengthening government and business ties between our countries.”
“China is one of the fastest-growing inbound tourism markets in the world and presents tremendous opportunities for British Columbia’s tourism sector,” said Beare. “The year 2018 is the Canada-China Year of Tourism and with this focus in mind, my visit to China was an important step towards enhancing tourism business prospects between China and B.C. New relationships resulting from this trip to Asia will help B.C.’s tour operators succeed in a globally competitive travel market.”
“To travel and meet in person with key business and government representatives has been invaluable,” said Chow. “We could see first-hand that our message was being received and now, by keeping in touch and by working together, we can enhance and expand business with the three countries we visited.”
The tour began in China on Jan. 20, continued in Korea on Jan. 25, and finished in Japan on Jan. 30, 2018.
- B.C. goods exports to China totalled $5.9 billion in 2016, making China B.C.’s second-largest export market.
- China was also Canada’s second-largest export destination, with 4.3% of Canadian goods shipped there.
- The 2018 Canada-China Year of Tourism is an initiative launched by the governments of Canada and China to celebrate and promote tourism opportunities.
- China is a burgeoning market for tourism, with a 22% increase in overnight visits to B.C. in 2016 over 2015.
- Tourism visits to British Columbia from residents of China, South Korea and Japan in 2016 were:
- Mainland China: 312,668 overnight customs entries. This has more than tripled since 2009 and Mainland China is now B.C.'s second-largest market, after the U.S.
- Japan: 151,535 overnight customs entries. This is B.C.’s third-largest Asia-Pacific market after China and Australia.
- South Korea: 108,903 overnight customs entries. This is B.C.’s fourth-largest Asia-Pacific market.
- Canada and South Korea share a thriving, two-way trade relationship totalling billions every year – particularly in the natural resource sector, agrifoods and seafood, international education, technology and tourism.
- B.C. exports to South Korea were $2.2 billion in goods exports in 2016, accounting for 51% of total Canadian exports to Korea.
- Japan is B.C.’s third-largest trading partner, at $3.7 billion in good exports in 2016. B.C. total exports to Japan, which are primarily commodities, are nearly double that of the next leading Canadian province.
A backgrounder on highlights from the mission follows.
Jen HolmwoodDeputy Communications Director
Office of the Premier | Government of BC
Media RelationsMinistry of Jobs, Trade and Technology
Media RelationsMinistry of Tourism, Arts and Culture
Premier Horgan has returned from a 10-day trip to China, South Korea and Japan aimed at expanding economic ties with three of B.C.’s largest trading partners and creating a broader awareness of B.C.’s strengths in energy, natural resources, agrifoods, low-carbon development, tourism, technology and innovation.
Highlights of the mission include:
- The B.C. government delegation met with Chinese government officials, including Guangdong Governor Ma Xingrui and business representatives to reinforce the value of the B.C.-Guangdong sister-province relationship.
- Events were held in Guangzhou and Beijing to promote B.C. as a prime tourism destination, in support of the 2018 Canada-China Year of Tourism. With 50 weekly flights from China to Vancouver International Airport and more than 300,000 tourists from China already arriving this year, B.C. is poised to increase the number of tourists visiting B.C. from China.
- Premier Horgan and Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology Bruce Ralston participated in the International Policy Forum on Wood Construction and Green Building with China’s Ministry of Housing and Urban Rural Development, Canada Wood China and Forestry Innovation Investment. This event served to promote the use of B.C. wood in low- and high-rise housing and commercial buildings and focus on green building design and the benefits of using wood in construction.
- Premier Horgan and Ralston took part in the B.C.-Guangdong Low-Carbon Roundtable, which followed up on the B.C.-Guangdong Climate Action Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to advance mutual climate action co-operation.
- Ralston and Minister of State for Trade George Chow attended a conference for the promotion of international trade, organized by the Guangdong Business Council to discuss expanding trade ties between B.C. and China.
- Premier Horgan attended bilateral meetings with China’s National Energy Administration and with PetroChina, a major shareholder in the LNG Canada Project.
- Minister of Tourism Lisa Beare attended a number of meetings to promote B.C.’s dynamic, year-round tourism destinations, to showcase B.C.’s agrifood products, seafood, craft beer and wine, and to mark the 2018 Canada-China Year of Tourism.
- During the visit, Beare also witnessed the International Business Group of Tencent, a leading provider of internet services in China and owner of social media giant WeChat (Weixin in China), sign a tourism promotion agreement with Destination BC. The agreement is the first of its kind in Canada and gives B.C. a preferred marketing platform on the messaging social media app, which attracts over 900 million daily active users, making it one of the largest in the world.
- In South Korea, Premier Horgan and Ralston met with Netmarble, Korea’s largest social gaming company, to discuss investment opportunities in B.C. and how the Province can help them find the talent they need to expand. Netmarble owns Vancouver-based game studio Kabam, which employs about 200 people and has plans to hire a significant number of new people this year.
- Ralston and Chow visited the Canada Village in South Korea where B.C. wood is being used to build a subdivision full of energy-efficient single-family homes. While there, Ralston and Chow commemorated the completion of homes built to the Super-E and Net-Zero energy-efficiency standard, demonstrating how wood-frame, low-carbon construction, and sustainable forest products from Canada and B.C. can help Korea provide energy-efficient and environmentally friendly homes.
- Premier Horgan and ministers took part in the signing of a renewed three-year Economic Action Plan in recognition of the 10th anniversary of the B.C.-Gyeonggi Sister-Province Relationship. This plan will enhance co-operation in the areas of digital media, information and communications technology (ICT)/wireless technology, agrifoods, wood products and low-carbon construction and tourism.
- Following the signing of the three-year Action plan, a collaboration agreement was signed between DigiBC and the head of the Gyeonggi Content Agency to support growth of the digital-media sector in B.C. and Gyeonggi.
- On the natural resources front, Premier Horgan met with business leaders at Korea Gas Corporation (KOGAS) and members of the LNG Canada Consortium.
- Premier Horgan met with multinational steel-making company POSCO in Korea, one of the largest importers of B.C. metallurgical coal. Premier Horgan also met with POSCO’s subsidiary, POSCO Daewoo. While there, POSCO Daewoo reaffirmed its continued early stage investment in the Kwanika mining project with Serengeti Resources.
- Premier Horgan and Ralston visited the Pangyo Techno Valley in Gyeonggi Province, South Korea’s leading technology province that shares many mutual bilateral objectives with B.C., to learn more about the Korean tech sector and explore ways that B.C. and Korean tech companies can work together.
- During a BC Partnerships luncheon, Premier Horgan helped launch the Coupang e-commerce marketing promotion, which includes 23 B.C. agrifoods companies that will list more than 100 products on the Coupang site, Korea’s version of Amazon. In 2015, the e-commerce market in South Korea was worth $41 billion, representing nearly 11% of total retail market share.
- Premier Horgan met with Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) to advance bilateral co-operation across all economic sectors.
- Premier Horgan attended a bilateral meeting with Mitsubishi Corporation, Japan’s largest trading company, to discuss its long-term resource-based investments in B.C.
- Premier Horgan also met with Japan Petroleum Exploration Company (JAPEX) and Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) to discuss past and continuing resource-based investments in B.C.
- Premier Horgan and ministers hosted a natural resources roundtable to discuss B.C. products and services, which was attended by Japanese investors in mining and energy.
- Premier Horgan and ministers took part in a BC Partnerships luncheon where they met with community, business and government guests to promote and strengthen B.C.-Japan business and cultural relations.
- Premier Horgan met with senior executives of Astomos Energy Corporation and visited Astomos’ propane facility. In 2017, Astomos entered into a propane purchase agreement with AltaGas, to be delivered through the Ridley Island Propane Export Terminal currently under construction near Prince Rupert. The facility is expected to provide 40-50 permanent jobs once operational.
- Premier Horgan and Ralston met with Fujitsu and reaffirmed support for Fujitsu and its technology collaborations with B.C. companies, such as 1QBit (makers of quantum computing software).
- Ralston and Chow visited Japanese multinational video game company, SEGA. SEGA confirmed that its Vancouver subsidiary, Relic Entertainment, will move to a larger studio in 2019 and create new jobs in the growing B.C. tech sector.