"We know that expanding and strengthening trading relationships abroad means real jobs here at home. Our government is acting to make sure that B.C. businesses are first in line to take advantage of the growing market opportunities in Asia," said Premier Clark. "This jobs and trade mission will open up new doors, connect B.C. businesses with Asian demand and keep our economy strong and growing."
The mission will focus on nurturing and strengthening business relationships in Japan, Korea, and the Philippines, while expanding markets for British Columbia goods and services.
Clark announced the mission at Fibreco Export Inc., the province's largest facility for shipping wood pellets for bioenergy production. Fibreco has shipped wood pellets to Japan for 20 years and has recently begun shipping their product to Korea.
"The growth of B.C.'s green energy biomass wood pellet industry has been an enormous success and has created hundreds of new jobs in the province," said Grant Watkins, president of Fibreco. "B.C. wood pellets, made from sawmill residuals and forest biomass, are replacing coal in electric power generating plants in Europe and Asia to meet alternative energy/carbon reduction goals in those markets and Korea and Japan represent tremendous opportunities for us to expand biomass shipments.
"Fibreco is currently loading 100 per cent of B.C.'s biomass exports on behalf of the wood pellet producers who do their own sales and marketing," continued Watkins. "We're thrilled that the B.C. government is pursuing more opportunities in these Asian markets and we are proud to be a part of it."
Premier Clark will depart Vancouver on May 12 for Japan. While in Japan, the Premier will meet with government and business officials regarding the natural gas, technology, and mining sectors identified in "Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan".
The Premier will leave Japan for Korea on May 16. There she will meet with government and business leaders in Seoul and Suwon, with discussions focused on the forestry, international education, technology and clean technology (including bioenergy), mining, and natural gas sectors.
Before returning to Vancouver on May 20, the Premier will fly to the Philippines on May 19. While there, she will meet with government officials in Manila to discuss ways of addressing labour mobility barriers for skilled workers.
A detailed list of highlights of the 2012 BC Jobs and Trade Mission follows.
Learn more about the BC Jobs Plan at www.bcjobsplan.ca
Sara MacIntyre Director of Communications Office of the Premier 250 580-7701
Media Relations Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation 250 356-7104
BC Jobs and Trade Mission to Japan, South Korea and the Philippines
- Japan is B.C.'s third-largest export market, worth $4.7 billion, and they are the world's largest importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
- Japan is Port Metro Vancouver's second-largest trading partner, after China. Roughly 17 million tonnes of cargos were shipped through the port to Japan in 2010.
- Japanese companies are invested in eight major mines in B.C., including Mitsubishi Materials' investment in Copper Mountain, announced in July 2010, worth over $250 million.
- Encana has entered into an agreement that will see Mitsubishi invest almost $3 billion for a 40-per-cent interest in the Cutbank Ridge natural-gas partnership in northeast B.C.
- Korea is B.C.'s fourth-largest export market, worth $2.7 billion, and the world's second-largest importer of LNG.
- Korea is the world's third-largest importer of coal. Korean steel company POSCO recently announced a $180-million investment in the Mount Klappan coal mine project in northwest B.C.
- Korea is ranked as the top source country for international students to B.C.; close to 18,000 Korean students studied in B.C. in 2010. The Province's K-12 education system is well-regarded in Korea.
- Korea will be hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang and is interested in learning from B.C.'s experience in hosting successful Olympic Games.
- The Philippines has been one of the top four source countries of temporary foreign workers (TFW) in British Columbia since 2000, along with the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan.
- Similar to the growth in TFWs from the Philippines, B.C. has also seen significant growth in the number of permanent residents arriving from the Philippines from 2,871 in 2000, to 6,661 in 2010.
- From 2000 to 2009, the Philippines was the third-largest source country for permanent residents to B.C., after India and China. In 2010, the Philippines was B.C.'s second-largest source country for permanent residents after China.