B.C. backs Asian economic study

The B.C. government supports and looks forward to contributing to a new feasibility study on establishing an economic partnership agreement between Canada and Japan, the province’s largest Asian export market.

  • Feb. 25, 2011 5:00 p.m.

The B.C. government supports and looks forward to contributing to a new feasibility study on establishing an economic partnership agreement between Canada and Japan, the province’s largest Asian export market. “British Columbia is an open economy and increased international trade leads directly to economic growth and creates jobs,” says Margaret MacDiarmid, minister of tourism, trade and investment. “The announcement by the federal government to initiate a joint feasibility study with Japan on establishing an economic partnership agreement can only help to enhance B.C.’s long-term business and cultural relationships with Japan.” According to the federal government, the joint Canada-Japan study will examine the economic impact of a potential economic partnership agreement and will weigh the benefits for businesses, exporters and workers in both countries. In 2010, B.C.-origin merchandise exports to Japan rose by 20 per cent to total $4.2 billion, and accounted for 46 per cent of all Canadian exports to the country. The province’s top five exports last year were coal, copper ores, lumber, wood pulp and aluminum. About $2.5 billion worth of Japanese imports entered Canada through B.C. Japan is also British Columbia’s largest market in Asia for international visitor entries. Last year, more than 127,000 people arrived in B.C. from Japan, accounting for 54 per cent of all Japanese visitors to Canada. To help promote B.C. as a place in which to do business along with promoting its goods and services, the province hired a trade and investment representative in Japan in 2007 who operates a B.C.-branded office in Tokyo. In addition, Tourism BC has an active presence in Japan through its Tokyo-based marketing operations. B.C.’s economic, diplomatic and cultural ties with Japan are deep and multi-faceted. Japan’s consulate in Vancouver was established in 1889, 40 years before its embassy opened in Ottawa. Nearly half of all sister-city relationships between Japan and Canada involve B.C. municipalities. In July 2009, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan received a warm welcome when they visited British Columbia during the 80th-anniversary celebrations of Canada-Japan relations. Export-ready B.C. companies interested in Japan can get information by contacting the province’s Asia Pacific Business Centre at 604 660-9727, e-mailing asia.pacific@gov.bc.ca or visiting http://trade.britishcolumbia.ca online.