B.C. joins lineup at China’s door

Premier Christy Clark and senior B.C. cabinet ministers are seeing plenty of competition as they visit China this week.

Premier Christy Clark meets performers during her trade mission to China this week.

Premier Christy Clark and senior B.C. cabinet ministers are seeing plenty of competition as they visit China this week in search of trade deals.

Clark is taking part in B.C.’s largest-ever trade mission to Asia, trying to expand on B.C.’s recent success developing the lumber market in China. And whether the product is liquefied natural gas, lumber or tourism, there are many other countries doing the same.

“Competition is stiff,” Clark said in a conference call Monday from Shanghai. “The world is in turmoil, and everybody’s coming to China.”

Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Minister Pat Bell is a veteran of these trade trips, most focused on using wood for housing construction. Bell says the forest CEOs on the trip are still expecting continued growth of Chinese demand each month, but nowhere near the doubling of sales that was seen over the last year.

“There is significant lumber available over here already, and that’s presenting the softer market that we’re seeing,” Bell said.

Deals announced after four days of the trade mission include an agreement for a touring show of photos from B.C.’s gold rush town of Barkerville. The exhibit focuses on migrants from Guangdong province to Barkerville during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The exhibit will be on display in Prince George before it opens at the Hong Kong Museum of History in early 2013. Its tour should attract more tourists from the Chinese province where most immigrants have historically come to B.C.

Bell said the biggest business deal announced on the trip so far is Sichuan Airlines starting three flights a week to Vancouver next year. It translates to 37,000 passenger seats a year, and is the airline’s first destination in North America.

Clark defended the political component of the tour, saying business executives can’t crack the Chinese market without government representation alongside. The current delegation includes delegates from 130 companies, schools and other organizations.

Clark is continuing on to India after the China portion of the trip. Bell goes to Hong Kong and Forests Minister Steve Thomson goes from China to Japan.

Just Posted

BM&TS show ‘a tale as old as time’

The theatre group produced Beauty and the Beast.

Video: MP hears pot, pipeline and politics concerns

South Okanagan-West Kootenay MP hosts town hall forum in Penticton

Needles killer frightened many in our town: BC author

Roy Bugera disrupted life in a quiet Vancouver Island village before moving to Arrow Lakes

RCMP investigate stabbing incident

Injuries were non-life threatening, RCMP report

Health Minister says coming changes will make difference in rural communities.

“As a government, Premier Horgan is committed to improving the ambulance service.”

Ottawa proposes restricted pot labels, packages

Packaging will include red stop sign with marijuana leaf and ‘THC’

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Golden Knights win 4-1, remain undefeated against Canucks

Vegas gets points from 12 players in dominating effort versus Vancouver

Alberta budget plans for Trans Mountain expansion

Finance Minister Joe Ceci says expected revenues will be factored into budget forecasts

Proposed gun bill attacked by gun owners and shooting victims

The federal government tabled the bill today in order to tighten the sale and tracking of firearms

New anti-radicalization centre in the works for B.C.

Centre aims to help ‘vulnerable individuals on the path to radicalization’ before they turn to crime

B.C. bravery, public service honoured by Governor General Julie Payette

UVic basketball coach Kathryn Shields inducted into Order of Canada

Sea lion with rope wrapped around neck saved by Vancouver Aquarium

Steller sea lions are a species of special concern and some populations are endangered in parts of Alaska

Most Read