New opportunities created for British Columbians on Asia trade mission

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, says Premier David Eby.

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

Eby said on Thursday: “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.

“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.”

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.

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, Eby met with the Daito Trust Construction Company to discuss its innovative rental housing model. In Singapore, the Premier 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, 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.


Highlights of B.C.’s trade mission to Asia



The B.C. trade mission met with:

* Ambassador of Canada to Japan and Special Envoy for the Indo-Pacific Ian McKay to discuss Canada-Japan trade and investment opportunities for B.C.

* Mitsubishi Corporation to discuss the company’s investment in B.C. energy and mining projects and technology companies.

* Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike to discuss strengthening the relationship between jurisdictions.

* The Japan Organization for Metals and Energy Security to sign a renewed and strengthened memorandum of understanding to explore ways to grow trade and unlock new sources of energy, such as hydrogen.
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* The Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport and Urban Development to sign a renewed memorandum of co-operation to collaborate on developing clean transportation and infrastructure solutions.
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* Japan Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Kei Takagi to reaffirm B.C.’s role as Canada’s gateway to Japan and as a major contributor of food and energy to Japan.

* Sony to discuss its business in B.C.

* Japan State Minister of Economy and Trade Fusae Ota to discuss ongoing co-operation in the energy sector and expanding co-operation in clean technology, quantum technology and AI technologies.


Republic of Korea

The B.C. trade mission met with:

* Hyundai Motor Company and Samsung SDI to discuss sourcing critical minerals from B.C.

* Gyeonggi Province to sign an enhanced action plan agreement to strengthen co-operation on cleantech and clean energy to address climate change.

* The Embassy of Canada to discuss Canada-ROK trade and investment opportunities for B.C.

* H2Korea, KOGAS, SK Ecoplant and POSCO Holdings to discuss collaborating on clean energy, including hydrogen.

* The Seoul Housing and Communities Corporation to discuss solutions to housing challenges.

* The Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Singapore to discuss growing trade and investment between B.C. and the ROK

* Net Marble to discuss the company’s planned business expansion and investments in B.C.



The B.C. trade mission met with:

* High Commissioner for Canada in the Republic of Singapore Jean-Dominique Ieraci to discuss Canada-Singapore trade and investment opportunities for B.C.

* PSA Singapore, the world’s largest containership port, to discuss the port’s innovation and collaborating on alternative marine fuels, smart logistics and carbon capture.

* GIC and Temasek, Government of Singapore sovereign wealth funds, to discuss investments in B.C.

* The Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Singapore to discuss growing trade and investment between B.C. and Singapore.

* Neste Singapore Renewable Products Refinery to discuss clean-energy fuels.

* Singapore education stakeholders to discuss B.C. universities’ research capabilities and Singapore’s research priorities.



The B.C. trade mission met with:

* Senior trade commissioner at the Consulate General of Canada Jasmine Wahhab to discuss trade and investment opportunities in Vietnam.

* Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City Vo Van Hoan to discuss bilateral trade and investment.

* GeoComply, a B.C.-based company that specializes in cybersecurity, to learn about its business in both jurisdictions.

* VinGroup/VinFast, a multisector conglomerate, to discuss its business in B.C.

* Royal Seafood to promote B.C. seafood imports.

* The Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam to discuss current market opportunities to better support Canadian and B.C. businesses.

* The B.C. Forestry Innovation and Investment office and several businesses to promote sustainable B.C. wood products and export opportunities.

* Dan On Foods Corporation, a B.C. company with manufacturing operations in Vietnam, to learn about their business.