PREMIER John Horgan kicked off his inaugural mission to Asia with a visit to British Columbia’s sister province Guangdong, China, to strengthen relationships and expand markets for the tourism, clean energy and technology sectors.
“China is B.C.’s second-largest trading partner and an important part of building a strong, sustainable economy that works for people in B.C.,” said Horgan on Monday. “To open new opportunities for B.C. businesses and create good jobs in forestry, clean tech, energy, technology, education and tourism, we need to cultivate strong relationships here. That’s exactly what we’re doing and why we started this mission in Guangdong, our sister province of 23 years.”
A key part of the mission in Guangdong was to explore ways that B.C. and China can collaborate on green solutions as China transitions to a low-carbon economy. B.C. and Guangdong hosted a low-carbon economy roundtable where Premier Horgan, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology Bruce Ralston, Minister of State for Trade George Chow and Guangdong officials met with key stakeholders in energy, clean tech, transportation, urban planning and building design.
“China’s transition to low-carbon development and a greener economy represents opportunities for co-operation between B.C. and Chinese companies to expand this important sector,” said Ralston. “By gaining first-hand understanding of Guangdong’s priorities, we have been able to promote B.C.’s unique services and expertise and open doors for job-creating B.C. businesses in the clean tech sector.”
“B.C. is well positioned to support China’s economic transition in areas such as agrifoods exports, technology and clean energy, and we’re doing the work we need to do to make sure we take full advantage of these opportunities,” said Chow. “We look forward to continuing the productive discussions and to growing markets in key sectors.”
During the visit, the Tencent International Business Group, a leading provider of internet services in China and owner of social media giant WeChat (Weixin in China), signed a tourism promotion agreement with Destination BC. The agreement is the first of its kind in Canada. It will give B.C. a preferred marketing platform on the messaging social media app, which attracts over 900 million daily active users — making it one of the largest in the world.
“We’re incredibly excited by this agreement. It’s a great way to kick off the Canada-China Year of Tourism and create opportunities that will benefit B.C.’s tourism operators,” said Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Lisa Beare. “We’re here to foster closer cultural ties between B.C. and China, and to make sure Chinese visitors have remarkable experiences in the year ahead in communities throughout B.C.”
The Guangdong leg of the mission also included a bilateral meeting between Premier Horgan and Guangdong Governor Ma Xingrui, which focused on advancing the 23-year B.C.-Guangdong sister-province relationship. Premier Horgan held meetings with key stakeholders in priority sectors, and the delegation hosted a tourism event to promote B.C. as a year-round tourism destination and to promote B.C. products, including agrifoods, seafood and wine.
* B.C. goods exports to Mainland China totalled $5.9 billion in 2016, making China B.C.’s second-largest export market.
* China was also Canada’s second-largest export destination, with 4.3% of Canadian goods shipped there.
* The 2018 Canada-China Year of Tourism was launched by the governments of Canada and China to celebrate and promote tourism opportunities between the two countries.
* In 2016, there were 312,668 overnight customs entries to British Columbia. China is B.C.’s second-largest market after the U.S.
* With over 100 million people, Guangdong is the most populous province in China.
* Guangdong is the place of origin for a large proportion of British Columbians of Chinese heritage.
* B.C. and Guangdong formed a sister-province relationship in 1995.