Premier Gordon Campbell will promote B.C.’s expertise in green technology and life sciences, as well as opportunities in trade, education and investment as he leads a mission to China and India Nov. 27 through Dec. 7.

“British Columbia has expertise in the development of innovative, green technology and there are opportunities in China and India, which have rapidly growing economies and are looking for ways to expand that are environmentally sustainable,” said Campbell. “We have an incredible opportunity to make connections that will benefit British Columbia and the world, both economically and environmentally.”

B.C. launched the Asia Pacific Initiative in April, setting out a long-term strategy to increase and diversify the province’s economic and cultural ties with the Asia-Pacific.

“This mission is a chance to spread the word to potential investors about B.C.’s competitive advantage as Canada’s Pacific Gateway and the opportunities here for partnerships in life sciences, trade, investment and education,” said Campbell.

The mission will see Premier Campbell visit Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, New Delhi, Chandigarh, Mumbai and Bengaluru. Notable events planned for the mission include:

*     Discussing green technology and opportunities with Shanghai government officials, and lending support to strategic corporate partnerships between B.C. and Shanghai;

*     Presiding over the signing of trade and clean-energy MOUs with the Government of Guangdong; 

*     Positioning B.C. as a key gateway destination for Asia-Pacific-based airlines; 

*     Attending the World Economic Forum’s India Economic Summit; 

*     Highlighting B.C.’s innovation, research and education connections between educational institutions and industry, particularly in life sciences and biotechnology, to officials in government, post-secondary institutions and business in India; 

*     Launching a new initiative to connect with alumni of B.C. post-secondary institutions living abroad, and promoting education opportunities between B.C. and India with post-secondary representatives; and 

*     Promoting life sciences opportunities, trade and investment at meetings of business leaders in Mumbai and Bengaluru.

China and Hong Kong are together B.C.’s second-largest trading partner, accounting for 5.2 per cent of B.C. exports. Exports to mainland China have increased more than 97 per cent since 2002.

India is the 10th largest export market for B.C. products. India was the second highest source for immigrants settling in British Columbia in 2006, with just under 6,000 immigrants; approximately 28 per cent of tourists from India to Canada entered through B.C. in 2006. In the 2001 census, more than 121,000 British Columbians identified Punjabi as their first language, compared to 110,000 in Ontario.