B.C. to host business forum focused on investment with India

Economy, Multiculturalism Monday, January 7, 2013 10:00 AM

VANCOUVER - Business leaders from India and British Columbia will meet to discuss  investment opportunities at the BC-India Global Business Forum on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, at the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre.

The opening and expansion of markets for British Columbia's goods and services, particularly in Asia, and the attraction of investment to grow B.C.'s priority sectors is a key pillar of the BC Jobs Plan. India is identified in the BC Jobs Plan as a priority market.

The B.C. government has been spearheading India market outreach efforts to seek new export and investment opportunities for B.C. businesses, and to create greater awareness of B.C.'s advantages as a trading partner.

The BC-India Global Business Forum is a key part of B.C.'s longer-term economic and trade strategy with India. It will profile key sectors that are of mutual priority for both the B.C. and Indian markets. The forum will include sector-specific discussions and presentations, as well as networking sessions to facilitate business opportunities and business matching.

Investment representatives in newly opened offices in Mumbai and Chandigarh, along with the existing trade office in Bangalore, will identify specific partnership opportunities for Indian and British Columbian business leaders to discuss at the forum. Finance Minister Michael de Jong opened these two new B.C. trade and investment offices last month.

After the forum concludes, there will be followup events around trade shows, trade missions and bilateral meetings to continue the momentum created by the event.

For more information on B.C.'s trade and investment with India, call 1 888 880-ASIA (2742), or contact the ministry through the website at: www.britishcolumbia.ca


Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour -

"India is a rapidly expanding market, and we face tough competition from around the world to gain a foothold for trade and investment as their economy grows. The BC-India Global Business Forum will help us to grow key relationships Premier Clark initiated during her Jobs and Trade Mission last year, and will also give us media exposure so we can tell India what B.C. is about and what we have to offer."

Michael de Jong, Minister of Finance -

"With the largest middle class in the world, India is full of opportunity and our government is working to ensure B.C. is a part of their enormous economic growth. In the weeks, months and years ahead, we're going to redouble our efforts to increase trade and investment with India so we can create jobs here in B.C."

Vivek Savkur, president, BC, Canada India Business Council -

"The Canada-India Business Council is doing its part to ensure that B.C. companies learn the opportunities in India and have the wherewithal to pursue them. Interest in the Indian market is growing rapidly among local companies, and the B.C. government has also been a strong supporter of B.C.-India trade. While it is clear that all levels of government have to play a role in fostering ties between Canada and India, it is the business community that should step into the huge and attractive Indian market and cement this relationship through trade and investment."

"B.C.-India business will grow rapidly and gain momentum as soon as the Free Trade Agreement is signed next year. The Canada-India Business Council will participate and support fully the Business Forum planned for March 2013."

Barj Dhahan, chair, Canada India Foundation -

"India offers huge export and investment opportunities for B.C. businesses. Likewise, Indian businesses are looking to invest in B.C. The upcoming BC-India Global Business Forum in March 2013 in Vancouver is an exciting and timely gathering which will help to build relationships between B.C. and Indian business leaders."

"While B.C.'s exports to India have dramatically grown in the past two years, I believe we can grow our exports to $ 1 billion per annum within the next few years. I wish to commend Premier Clark and the B.C. government for the opening of the B.C. trade offices in Chandigarh and Mumbai as these offices will be of strategic value in expanding bilateral trade and investment between our province and India."

Tom Syer, vice president, policy and communications, BC Business Council -

"As the centre of global economic activity continues to shift to Asia and South Asia, British Columbia is strategically positioned geographically, culturally and economically to benefit from the rise of India. By 2050, India will have a substantially larger economy that the United States, ranking only behind China as the largest economy in the world. Building effective trade relations at this time will pay significant dividends and leveraging our advantages makes for good long term economic planning that will grow prosperity in our province."

John Winter, president and CEO, BC Chamber of Commerce -

"India is an increasingly critical economic power and B.C. is well placed to be at the forefront of taking advantage of this opportunity given our geographic, cultural and family links. This forum is a welcome recognition of this fact and will be important for businesses, particularly small business, to be educated on the opportunities this market provides."

Quick facts:

  • As of October 2012, year-to-date B.C. exports of goods to India were up significantly, by 212 per cent, compared to the same period in 2011.
  • As of September 2012, year-to-date overnight customs entries from India to B.C. had increased 9.4 per cent over the same period in 2011.

A backgrounder follows.


Media Relations
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour
250 356-8177


India market outreach efforts

Premier's Jobs and Trade Mission, November 2011.

  • Raised B.C.'s profile in India.
  • Started process of building relationships.
  • Identified opportunities for partnerships and promotions for trade.

New Forestry Innovation Investment office opened in Mumbai, India, July 2012.

  • Increases ability to explore new opportunities for B.C. wood products in the Indian market.

The Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training's International Market Development Branch led a trade delegation to Delhi from Nov. 5-9, 2012.

  • This is one of several trade delegations to and from India this year that the ministry is organizing, focused around key sectors in 'Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan'.
  • It included 18 representatives from British Columbia companies in renewable energy and clean technology, including Ballard Power Systems, Exro Technologies and Westport, which recently signed an agreement with India's Tata Motors to develop an engine for light- and medium-duty trucks and buses.
  • Opening of two new B.C. Trade and Investment Offices (Mumbai/Chandigarh), December 2012.
  • Complement existing office in Bangalore.
  • Enable B.C. to tap into vast potential for opportunities with India.
  • Physical presence is critical because of the size and complexity of the market.
  • Multiple offices provide adequate sector and geographic coverage.
  • The India-based Trade and Investment Representative network will be tripled, from four managers to twelve.
  • Each new office will focus on targeted sectors:
    • Chandigarh will specialize in agri-foods and tourism.
    • Mumbai's focus will be on natural resources, film, education, transportation and financial services. This office will take the lead in attracting Indian corporate investment to B.C.


Media Relations
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour
250 356-8177

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