“British Columbia has well-established cultural ties with the Philippines. The seeds of international trade begin with cultural connections and enduring personal relationships,” Anton said.
Photo: Neil Ferrer, Philippine Consul General in Vancouver, holds a sign at a December 4 announcement by B.C. Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton (left of Ferrer) that the province is opening a trade and investment office in the Philippines. Also in the photo are (left) Amrik Virk, BC Minister of Innovation, Technology and Citizen Services, Mable Elmore, MLA Vancouver-Kensington and Jorge Marco, President of Philippines-Canada Trade Council.(Photo by Paul Larosa of PNC/Balitang Vancouver)
The expansion of B.C.’s trade presence into the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region is part of the province’s new Asia trade strategy.
A presence in ASEAN will put B.C. on the doorstep of an economy that’s valued at $2.4-trillion and has annual growth forecasts above five percent for the next five years.
ASEAN is an economic region made up of the Philippines, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. A trade presence in the Philippines will help B.C. companies identify andcapitalize on new trade and investment opportunities in a market that is experiencing significant economic growth itself.
The Asia Development Bank forecasts GDP growth of 6.3 percent in the Philippines in 2016, up from six percent in 2015.
Wat said: “The Philippines represents a huge opportunity to grow B.C. exports and attract investment to our province and that’s why we’ve made it a key priority market. By expanding B.C.’s export capacity, attracting investments that grow B.C.’s key sectors, and growing economic relationships in Asia and in the ASEAN region specifically, we can create more jobs for British Columbians.”
Since the launch of the BC Jobs Plan in 2011, exports to the Philippines have grown 48 percent and B.C. has emerged as the largest provincial exporter to the Philippines, with 41 percent of national exports in 2014.
Amrik Virk, Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services, said: “The British Columbia Filipino community is a powerful ally for our economy. The opening of this formal office is building on our strong personal relationships.”
The establishment of this trade and investment representative office will also coincide with ASEAN launching its own economic association, the ASEAN Economic Community, which will be established in early 2016.
This association will create the world’s seventh-largest single market of 600 million people.
This will be B.C.’s 12th international trade representative office, building on the BC Jobs Plan commitment to double B.C.’s international presence. The trade and investment representatives (TIRs) who staff these offices connect B.C. businesses with new markets and trade opportunities and promote British Columbia as a stable and attractive destination for investment.
In 2014-15, TIRs played a critical role in facilitating and supporting more than 160 inbound and outbound international missions involving B.C. companies and organizations and helped facilitate 271 international business agreements – almost quadruple the target of 60.
B.C. currently has 11 trade and investment representative offices based in Japan, Korea, India, China, Europe and the United States.
As a single entity, ASEAN forms Asia’s third largest economy after China and Japan and is the fourth largest import market in the world.