THERE are plenty of opportunities for B.C. companies in India. That was the message delegates received loud and clear as Premier Christy Clark wrapped up her latest trade mission to one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.
Clark and Minister of Advanced Education Amrik Virk led a delegation of over 70 companies, First Nations representatives and post-secondary institutions to meet one-on-one with key Indian investors and government officials. They participated in the signing of co-operation agreements and attended high-level meetings with multiple levels of governments.
“India is an increasingly important trade and investment partner for our province,” said Clark. “Meeting face-to-face with decision-makers strengthens our relationships which are key to making inroads into export markets – in India and around the world. Trade missions help us provide B.C. companies with the opportunities and tools they need to grow their businesses, both here and in the international market.”
“We share close economic, cultural and social ties with India. Not surprising as more than 5% of our population have South Asian heritage,” said Virk. “This trade mission provided an opportunity to promote British Columbia as a high-quality education destination, and to raise awareness of the potential for educational partnerships, student exchanges and joint research initiatives with India.”
Highlights of the trade mission include:
* The B.C. and Punjab governments announced they will work together in the areas of advanced education, skills certification, agriculture and cultural exchange programs to boost economic and cultural ties between the two jurisdictions. They will develop a teacher and student exchange program between UBC and Punjab universities, with a focus on pharmacology, generic medicines and bio-energy.
* Richmond-based SignalChem opened up a research and development facility in Bangalore that will mean more jobs at its B.C. operation. The expansion allows the company, which specializes in cancer, inflammation and central nervous system disorders, to convert its oncology drug discoveries into use.
* The Premier announced funding for 20 scholarships, worth a total of $50,000, to support and encourage the two-way exchange of students between the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) and Sanatan Dharma (SD) College in Chandigarh, India.
* B.C. film and entertainment companies North Shore Studios and Vancouver Film Studios signed MOUs with India-based film and entertainment giant Ramoji Film City. Both parties agreed to promote each other in India and British Columbia, and support each other for the purpose of shooting and productions.
* uber Diagnostics, an India-based medical device company announced it will open an office in Surrey. The company also signed a memorandum of understanding with Surrey’s Innovation Boulevard. The two organizations share a common interest in the investigation and delivery of affordable health-care diagnostics.
* Clark announced that a school in India and a school in Japan are the two latest international schools approved to offer the B.C. curriculum.
* At the BC Film & Digital Roundtable in Mumbai, Clark congratulated international film special effects giant Double Negative for its decision to open a new state-of-the-art facility in Vancouver, gaining the city even more recognition as a digital hub and paving the way for more well-paying jobs for British Columbians.
* IC-IMPACTS announced the signing of two agreements with the following organizations:
– GMR Institute of Technology – to accelerate research collaborations between Canada and India.
– Reliance Industries Limited – partnership will help address growing infrastructure concerns in both nations and demonstrate Canada and India’s commitment to technology transfer and global innovation.
* The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) will establish a Visiting Scholars Program at Simon Fraser University. The program will host world-class Indian scholars from a wide range of disciplines. SFU is the first western Canadian university to receive support from ICCR to create such a program.
* Royal Roads University built on a previous agreement allowing Chandigarh University students to transfer into RRU’s third year Bachelor of Business Administration program.
* Simon Fraser University and the Indian Oil Corporation, India’s flagship national oil company and the country’s largest corporation, signed an agreement to further collaborate on hydrogen and fuel cell technology research. The Ministry of International Trade made the initial connection that led to the original agreement.
* The British Columbia Institute of Technology has formalized two partnerships while in India. The first, with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), a non-profit research organization based in New Delhi, will foster collaboration and explore joint research opportunities in microgrid energy research and green building initiatives. This agreement also helps facilitate applied research participation by faculty, researchers, and students in both India and Canada.
The second agreement between BCIT and Chitkara University in Chandigarh centers on identifying and exploring activities relating to student and faculty mobility, train-the-trainer education models, and undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
While in India, the Premier and Virk travelled to New Delhi, Mumbai, and Chandigarh where they focused on a number of strategic areas including education, natural gas, clean technology, life sciences, film, digital arts, and finance. The trade mission builds on the success of the Premier’s Jobs and Trade Mission to China in 2013, and India in 2011.
Virk also travelled to Bangalore to raise awareness of the great potential for secondary and post-secondary education partnerships, joint research initiatives, and student exchange between B.C. and India.
British Columbia has a Trade and Investment team in Vancouver and Trade and Investment Representative office locations around the world. This international network connects B.C. businesses with new markets and trade opportunities and promotes British Columbia as a stable and attractive destination for investment, tourists and international students.
* Between 2001 and 2013, trade between India and B.C. has increased by more than 296%.
* The top commodity exports to India in 2013 were mineral products, wood products, pulp, and machinery and equipment.
* British Columbia has expanded its trade and investment network in India with trade and investment representatives located in Bangalore, Mumbai and Chandigarh.
* India is part of the B.C. Government International Education Strategy, which includes the goal of a 50% increase to the number of international students studying in B.C. by 2016.
* In 2012/13, there were 4,600 international students from India studying in B.C., including 2,600 in public post-secondary institutions and 2,000 in private post-secondary institutions.