VICTORIA - Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick and industry delegates will begin a tour of China this week to promote B.C.’s agriculture and seafood products and build on already record-setting exports.
The B.C. delegation is part of a federally led trade mission with industry and government leaders from across Canada.
In 2013, British Columbia exported $2.7 billion of agrifoods to more than 140 countries, an increase of about $200 million from the year before. China is now the second-largest export market for B.C. agrifoods and last year, exports to China increased to $234 million, up $64 million from the previous year. B.C. has consistently achieved record setting exports to China for the past four years.
Letnick, along with representatives from the province’s blueberry, cherry and speciality meat industry will be meeting with officials in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai June 13-21. The tour begins with a visit to the World Meat Congress in Beijing this weekend.
As Canada’s Pacific Gateway, B.C. is the closest connection Asian markets have to North America, and B.C’s ports deliver hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of B.C. food products each year to customers in China. The B.C. government has trade and investment offices in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai, assisting in the development of trade and investment relationships.
The BC Jobs Plan’s Agrifoods Strategy clearly states how expanding international markets and strengthening domestic markets will help the agriculture sector become a $14-billion-a-year industry by 2017.
Minister of Agriculture Norm Letnick -
“The B.C. government is proud of achieving record-setting agrifood exports to China in each of the last four years, and we’re confident those numbers are only going to grow. By working closely with industry leaders and B.C.’s trade representatives in China, we’re spreading the message that B.C. products are high-quality and trusted foods, and helping our farmers and food producers increase their market presence, product sales, and incomes.”
“These trade missions nurture the relationships between Chinese buyers, B.C. suppliers and key government officials, which are so valued and integral to expanding trade in China.”
BC Cherry Council representative Christine Dendy -
“Canadian cherry production is expanding rapidly and the opening of China’s markets to Canadian cherries is a very important opportunity. B.C. cherry growers and the CFIA have worked diligently with the Chinese to work through a pilot program and come to an acceptable set of protocols that will be the basis for a permanent agreement.”
“Chinese demand for premium-quality fruit is strong, and that is what we can deliver.”
BC Blueberry Council executive director Debbie Etsell -
“The BC Blueberry Council is expecting another record crop this year as we continue to work towards new markets. We are pleased to be returning to China, one of our top target markets and continue to build interest and demand of our quality product. It is a pleasure to have Minister Letnick participate with us on this trade mission to Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai.”
Donald’s Fine Foods chairman Donald Leung -
“Donald's Fine Foods is the only federally inspected pork plant in B.C. and one of the approved processing plants in Canada allowed to export our pork products directly to China. China is one of our major customers and we are excited to have this opportunity to join Minister Letnick on this trade mission.”
“We believe this is an excellent opportunity to meet with more potential customers and increase our business ties with China.”
- B.C. is the number one producer and exporter of sweet cherries in Canada. In 2013, B.C. exported close to $42 million worth of sweet cherries to 21 different countries.
- B.C. is the number one producer and exporter of high bush blueberries in Canada and the third-largest in the world. In 2013, B.C. exported $155 million worth of fresh and frozen blueberries to 14 different countries.
- B.C. wine exports continue to grow, rising to almost $8 million a year with about 90% destined for the Chinese market.
- B.C. exported more than 31,000 tonnes of speciality pork products in 2013. China was B.C.’s top export market by volume, receiving almost 30% of BC’s total pork exports.
- China is B.C.’s second-largest market for fish and seafood products. B.C. exported $163 million worth of fish and seafood products to China in 2013, up 35% from 2012.
- In October 2013, the B.C. government appointed Ben Stewart as the investment and trade commissioner in Asia.
2013 Export Highlights - B.C. Agrifoods statistics:
20th World Meat Congress - Beijing, China:
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Agriculture
250 889-5945 (cell)