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

Victoria Shamrocks win proves costly

Shamrocks lose Rhys Duch to a season-ending injury

BC Ferries adds extra and late night summer sailings

Seasonal adjustments to sailing times also in effect on many routes

Greater Victoria records drop in building permit values

Values are up for British Columbia and Canada thanks to Vancouver

Campbell River teen on the mend a year later

Jonah Shankar’s treatment for brain tumour involved trips to UK

WATCH: Barbers battle it out in Victoria

‘Barber Battle’ saw stylists and barbers from across North America go head-to-head

Province comes through with funding for Charleigh Fales

Lake Cowichan toddler only one in B.C. diagnosed with CLN2 Batten disease

People throwing food at a bear in Fernie alarms conservation groups

“Approaching and feeding bears contributes to habituation,” says conservation group

Feds announce $50M strategy to fight dementia

Emphasis is on prevention and and supporting caregivers

Federal Liberals’ plan to help first-time homebuyers to kick in weeks before election

Ottawa to pick up 5% of a mortgage on existing homes for households that earn under $120,000 a year

Homalco tour gives glimpse into area’s ‘People, Land, Water’

First Nation business mixes cultural components with wildlife excursions

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Most Read