BusinessMirror:British Columbia opens first Asean trade, investment office in Manila

The Canadian province of British Columbia has opened a trade and investment office in the Philippines, its first in the Asean region, hoping to double trade growth and promote two-way investments.

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark is in the country, with a trade delegation of businesses engaged in health care, education, medical technology and pharmacy, agri-food and clean technology.

The Philippines is the second stop in the premier’s three-country trade mission, with the Philippines having been selected in the British Columbia’s Jobs Plan as a priority market, given Manila’s rapid economic growth in recent years.

“This is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, we want to be here,” Clark said.

“We want to see our trade grow significantly and there’s an opportunity to double that growth over the next several years, quite easily with this trade office here,” she added.

British Columbia businesses will be meeting with top Philippine corporations, such as Jollibee Foods Corp. and Ayala Corp., to explore opportunities. The Canadian province has already inked five agreements on the occasion of its launch on Thursday:

Australian firm Incognito Software Inc. has signed a contract for software sale with telecommunications giant Globe Telecom; North Island College of British Columbia’s memorandum of understanding with the Center for International Education’s School of Business and Technology in the Philippines; PharmaCanada and Hi-Precision Diagnostics’ distribution agreement for lung-cancer screening and diagnostics technology; and seperate agreements of the University of British Columbia with De La Salle University and the University of the Philippines for student exchange programs. Among province’s most significant investments to date in the Philippines include Aquilini Mactan Renewable Energy Inc.’s clean-energy project and metal exploration firm B2Gold Corp.’s gold production and exploration in Masbate.

According to state the Statistics Canada and International Trade Centre, the province of British Columbia takes the largest share of Canadian exports to the Philippines: it has a 26-percent share of the total Canadian export value of $731.6 million traded in 2015, translating to $190 million worth of exports originating from British Columbia.

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