Letter to the Editor

Trade missions column contains errors

Minister of International Trade responds to an article printed in the Nov. 25 edition of the Trail Times.

There are significant errors that need correcting in the opinion piece published last Wednesday (“B.C. trade missions fail to deliver bang for the buck,” Trail Times Nov. 25).

Our economy has benefitted enormously from trade missions and in particular our focus on Asian markets has attracted investment, increased exports and helped B.C. diversify. The proof is in the numbers.

The value of B.C. exports – wood, agrifoods and other resources – to China has increased by 375 per cent over the last 10 years. This past mission was one of our most successful ever, and the 45 agreements signed in China will add an estimated $1.4 billion worth of trade and investment to our economy.

The writer wrongly assumes that the sums reflected in the news release issued is the total value of the deals made on the last mission. The figures are those of companies who chose to make public statements on the value of their deals signed. Other companies share figures with government on condition that government respects the confidentiality of their business agreements to maintain their competitiveness. It’s the sum total of both those groups that reflect the estimates of the value of deals made during the mission.

The writer also fails to acknowledge the importance of building relationships with senior executives and government officials in powerful and emerging economies. Nothing takes the place of face-to-face meetings and discussion of shared interests to spark ideas and help make B.C. top of mind when future opportunities present themselves.

Over the past decade our work around attracting foreign direct investment has facilitated $14.5 billion into our economy. All in all, a pretty good return on investment for taxpayers.

Teresa Wat

Minister of International Trade

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