It was to be a learning experience.
Ralph Roy, Regional District of Bulkley Nechako (RDBN) director of area D, Fraser Lake rural said to Lakes District News that his recent trip to Prince George to participate in an International Trade and Investment Forum was certainly an eye opener for him.
He attended the forum as a representative of the RDBN and rubbed shoulders with chief executive officers (CEO) from many international businesses, including China, Germany and New Zealand.
The forum, organized by Initiatives Prince George and the B.C. Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation provided the province’s international trade and investment representatives an opportunity to meet with local businesses, municipalities and organizations interested in doing business in overseas markets.
Trade representatives offered advice on expanding into and establishing an international business presence and provided overviews of current country specific market conditions and importing needs.
The province’s trade representatives work out of China, the European Union, India, Japan, Korea, and California and they help local businesses identify opportunities and offer assistance in making the right investment decisions.
According to Roy, the two day event was filled with presentations from numerous international CEOs. “Many of them shared an interest in doing business in the province,” he said.
“There was some really good information presented …. a lot of the information I was not aware of so I put it in a report for the board,” he said.
In his report, which was presented to the board last week, Roy listed some of the information he had learned.
According to Roy;
• In the last four years there has been 820 trade missions to China from Canada.
• China would like to import more Canadian beef.
• Korea would buy all of the blueberries that B.C. could produce.
• Korea is currently building the world’s biggest power plant which will be completed in 2017. The plant will be using pellets derived from B.C.
• Canadian exports to the U.S. totaled $13 billion in 2010, Canadian exports to England in 2010 included pulp, farm machinery and coal totaled $2 billion.
• A Chinese business representative is currently investigating the purchase of land in Canada to grow Canola for oil.
Roy also presented population statistics to the board in relation to the size of business area the community serves. He noted that many Northern communities serve a much larger business area that just within their municipal boundaries.
For example Roy noted, “The population of Smithers is 5,217 however the business area serves 10,500 and there are 17 physicians in Smithers.”
Also, the population of Prince George is 75,568 however the Prince George business area serves a population of 330,000.
He added that in the North, Fort Nelson had the most population growth in 2010. A total of 21 new businesses opened up in the town during 2010 and 150 new homes were built.
The news for the RDBN was not quite as encouraging, with the area losing 10 per cent of its population during 2010.
RDBN’s chief administrative officer Gail Chapman said to Lakes District News the report was presented to the board for informational purposes only.