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.