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Premier, ministers create new opportunities for British Columbians on Asia trade mission

June 8, 2023 at 12:09 pm  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

People and businesses in British Columbia will benefit from new jobs, diversified supply chains and a stronger, cleaner economy following the Province’s successful trade mission to Asia. 

The two-week trade mission included Japan, the Republic of Korea (ROK), Singapore and Vietnam.

“This trade mission ensured our province is first to leverage the federal Indo-Pacific Strategy to deliver stability, jobs and opportunity for all British Columbians in a time of global uncertainty and rising costs,” said Premier David Eby. “While Japan and Korea are strong historical trading partners and British Columbia has deep business ties with Singapore, showing up in person in the context of our new Trade Diversification Strategy delivers the message that British Columbians are reliable partners on the cutting edge of clean energy, clean technology, biotech, agritech, education and responsible resource development. This refreshed relationship and ongoing actions by our government will show ongoing economic benefits for British Columbians, starting as soon as this summer with a visit from a new clean-energy major project investor from Korea.”

Premier Eby went to Japan and the ROK, where he was accompanied by Josie Osborne, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation; Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation; and Jagrup Brar, Minister of State for Trade.

The Premier also went to Singapore. Brar went to Vietnam, where he officially opened B.C.’s trade and investment representative office.

“The Indo-Pacific is the world’s fastest-growing economic region, and this trade mission gave us the opportunity to reaffirm and expand B.C.’s presence in this competitive global environment,” said Bailey. “By strengthening our relationships with government, business and industry leaders, we are creating new trade and investment partnerships that will grow our clean economy and benefit all British Columbians.”

The trade mission focused on promoting B.C.’s strengths in key sectors, such as clean energy, clean technology, natural resources and critical minerals, information and communications technology, and agrifood.

Premier Eby and the ministers held dozens of meetings with government officials, company representatives, industry organizations and cultural institutions.

Several meetings focused on B.C.’s plans to export hydrogen. B.C. created the first hydrogen strategy in Canada, and there are many hydrogen projects in development in the province. Following meetings in Japan, the Japanese government announced its plan to invest 15 trillion yen (approximately C$143.2 billion) to supply the country with hydrogen over the next 15 years.

Potential solutions to housing challenges also emerged as a key point of discussion. In Japan, Premier Eby met with the Daito Trust Construction Company to discuss its innovative rental housing model. In Singapore, Premier Eby met with the Ministry of National Development’s Housing and Development Board to discuss housing policies that could inform the new BC Builds program. Through BC Builds, the Province aims to work with partners to build middle-income homes on publicly owned land.

In Japan, the ROK and Singapore, Premier Eby delivered a keynote address to government, economic and community leaders focused on B.C.’s historical, cultural and economic relationship with the nation; B.C.’s role as Canada’s gateway to the Indo-Pacific; and the province’s competitive advantages, including as a supplier of clean energy, clean technology and critical minerals.

During the mission, the Province signed three renewed and strengthened bilateral agreements focused on climate change and clean energy. Additionally, B.C. and the Korea Mine Rehabilitation and Mineral Resources Corporation signed a statement of co-operation to work together to advance the development of critical minerals for both countries.

“B.C. has the clean energy and critical minerals needed to drive the global transition to a low-carbon economy,” said Osborne. “This trade mission allowed us to meet face to face with key trade partners and strengthen our collaboration on priorities, such as unlocking new sources of energy like hydrogen and developing the critical minerals sector. This will create more jobs and opportunities for people across the province, as well as a cleaner future for people around the world.”

The mission follows the launch of B.C.’s new Trade Diversification Strategy on May 5, 2023. The strategy, which is a commitment in the StrongerBC Economic Plan, outlines actions to increase trade and investment opportunities in existing markets, such as Japan and the ROK, as well as in new and emerging markets, such as Vietnam and Singapore.

“The pandemic and global uncertainties have shown us that the deeper our trade relationships are with more countries, the stronger our province is,” said Brar. “By building strong ties with these countries, we’re supporting B.C. businesses, creating good jobs for British Columbians and strengthening the supply chains we all rely on for goods and services.”

Quick Facts:

  • From 2021 to 2022, B.C. exports increased by more than 20% to $64.9 billion.
  • Japan and the ROK are B.C.’s third- and fourth-largest export markets, respectively.
  • Singapore and Vietnam are B.C.’s 22nd- and 25th-largest export markets, respectively, while serving as important partners in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Learn More:

For more about B.C. and the Korea Mine Rehabilitation and Mineral Resources Corporation’s statement of co-operation, visit:
https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2023EMLI0033-000855

To read the Trade Diversification Strategy, visit:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/employment-business/international-investment-and-trade/trade-diversification-strategy

For more about the StrongerBC Economic Plan, visit:
https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/economic-plan/

For more about trade and investment in B.C., visit: www.britishcolumbia.ca

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