Trade matters

It’s no secret that our communities are dependent on the resources that we find plentiful in our own backyards.

By Donna Barnett

It’s no secret that our communities are dependent on the resources that we find plentiful in our own backyards.

By accessing those resources responsibly, family-supporting jobs are created.

But what is crucial is we can’t forget that harvesting that potential is only the start.

We have to make sure there is an active marketplace that is eager to purchase the goods they know British Columbia can deliver.

This is precisely why our government has been focused on easing congestion and establishing British Columbia as North America’s Asia-Pacific Gateway, as well as extensive trade missions, to take advantage of rapidly growing markets and opportunities in Asia.

This will not only have long-term benefits for the provincial and national economies, but it is crucial for resource-based communities like ours.

As the latest figures show, our plan is working. More than $2.3 billion worth of domestic exports shipped internationally during November 2010.

This is a 17 per cent or $331-million increase compared with November 2009.

 Over the first 11 months of 2010, outbound shipping from Port Metro Vancouver increased more than 16 per cent, while the Prince Rupert Port Authority reports their cargo destined to international markets increased 28 per cent.

And here is some of the best news. Leading the way for British Columbia were exports of forestry products, which totalled nearly $7.8 billion over the first 11 months of 2010 — up by 20 per cent over 2009.

Most startling is the increase in trade to countries throughout Asia. Exports to Japan increased by 18 per cent, to Mainland China by 59 per cent, to South Korea by more than 11 per cent and to Taiwan by 11 per cent.

Exports to India increased by almost 80 per cent.

We’ve got what the world wants right here in our backyard.  Our government is making sure the world knows we have it.

Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for Cariboo Chilcotin.