As part of Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan, Premier Christy Clark today said British Columbia will double the Province's international trade presence in key and expanding markets.
"There is a growing appetite for B.C.'s goods and commodities in Asia and we want to support investors looking for overseas investment opportunities," said Premier Clark. "By taking advantage of the rapid growth of the middle classes in India and China, we are accelerating job growth right here in B.C. The more these countries buy from us and invest, the more jobs are created here at home."
The Province will strengthen B.C.'s established network of trade and investment representative offices and focus more resources to attract foreign investment and international students.
"About seven years ago, BC Forestry Innovation Investment established a presence in China, with offices in Shanghai and Beijing. As expected, it took time and focus on building important relationships, but this has paid off handsomely with a tenfold increase in the value of lumber exports to China." said Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation. "We're going to build on this and the successes of our Asia-based network of trade and investment representatives to sell more of our goods in Asia and increase investment in B.C."
Premier Clark also announced a new hosting program to provide personalized services to overseas delegations that come to B.C. and help them link with potential business opportunities and partnerships. The hosting program will work with regional development offices, municipalities and other business interests in arranging tours, site visits and meetings.
"Our overseas business has increased dramatically over the past three years, resulting in an additional 250 jobs," said David Curtis, president & CEO, Viking Air Limited. "Having a strong B.C. government presence will be critical to building new relationships in the markets we serve."
In addition, British Columbia will embark on a focused marketing and sales campaign to attract international companies to establish offices in the province. Priority will be given to companies headquartered in Asia. This campaign will tout B.C.'s benefits as an economically sound jurisdiction for investment and its growing Pacific Gateway and transportation hub, along with the province's established cultural and economic ties in Asia.
"There is a massive wave of investment from Asia that is poised to sweep the world, and B.C. is well-positioned to tap into that potential," said Yuen Pau Woo, president and CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. "But this will only happen if government, business, and civil society work together to create the right environment for investment, and to actively court investors from the region."
Premier Clark will leave on her upcoming trade mission to eight cities in China and India on Nov. 4, returning to B.C. on Nov. 16. She will be promoting the advantages of doing business in B.C. in the cities of Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Amritsar and Chandigarh.
The full BC Jobs Plan can be found at: www.bcjobsplan.ca