B.C. joins lineup at China’s door

Premier Christy Clark and senior B.C. cabinet ministers are seeing plenty of competition as they visit China this week.

Premier Christy Clark meets performers during her trade mission to China this week.



Premier Christy Clark and senior B.C. cabinet ministers are seeing plenty of competition as they visit China this week in search of trade deals.

Clark is taking part in B.C.’s largest-ever trade mission to Asia, trying to expand on B.C.’s recent success developing the lumber market in China. And whether the product is liquefied natural gas, lumber or tourism, there are many other countries doing the same.

“Competition is stiff,” Clark said in a conference call Monday from Shanghai. “The world is in turmoil, and everybody’s coming to China.”

Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Minister Pat Bell is a veteran of these trade trips, most focused on using wood for housing construction. Bell says the forest CEOs on the trip are still expecting continued growth of Chinese demand each month, but nowhere near the doubling of sales that was seen over the last year.

“There is significant lumber available over here already, and that’s presenting the softer market that we’re seeing,” Bell said.

Deals announced after four days of the trade mission include an agreement for a touring show of photos from B.C.’s gold rush town of Barkerville. The exhibit focuses on migrants from Guangdong province to Barkerville during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The exhibit will be on display in Prince George before it opens at the Hong Kong Museum of History in early 2013. Its tour should attract more tourists from the Chinese province where most immigrants have historically come to B.C.

Bell said the biggest business deal announced on the trip so far is Sichuan Airlines starting three flights a week to Vancouver next year. It translates to 37,000 passenger seats a year, and is the airline’s first destination in North America.

Clark defended the political component of the tour, saying business executives can’t crack the Chinese market without government representation alongside. The current delegation includes delegates from 130 companies, schools and other organizations.

Clark is continuing on to India after the China portion of the trip. Bell goes to Hong Kong and Forests Minister Steve Thomson goes from China to Japan.

Just Posted

Accident at Highway 97 near airport

Fire crews and ambulance officials have responded to the scene

Kelowna motel robbed, suspect sought

The suspect threatened to harm the lone front desk clerk and demanded money.

Kelowna airport hosts accessibility event

Canucks Autism Network event brings families together to help deal with air travel

Penticton reporter reflects on covering Charles Manson

Charles Manson, leader of a murderous cult, died on Sunday at 83

West Kelowna neighbourhood fed up with criminal activity

Prowler frustrating West Kelowna residents

Heavy snowfall expected on Coquihalla

Snow forecast for mountain highways

Annett finishes season on the podium at Ironman Arizona

Penticton triathlete sets new course record on the bike

Cash donations create purchasing power

Salvation Army and food banks stretch a donated dollar a long way

Hergott: A pedestrian’s legal obligation

Lawyer Paul Hergott questions the moral obligation of pedestrians and motorists

Coyotes grab Okanagan boys title

George Elliott defeats Seaton in AA volleyball final, seeded third heading to provincials

ICBC overbilling for crash repairs not the problem, dealers say

Collision repair shops reject union claim of inflated costs

Last day for shoeboxes at Kelowna Gospel Fellowship

Kelowna church has been gathering gifts for kids in need in countries around the world

Owls soar to Okanagan volleyball title

KSS girls win 4A championship for 12th straight year beating Pen Hi in final

B.C. groups to address child sex abuse in sports

viaSport is organizing a full day of education in association with Canadian Centre for Child Protection and the Coaching Association of Canada.

Most Read