PROVINCE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
STRATEGIC PLAN 2007/08–2009/10
A new world order is upon us. It will be dominated by trade with China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, India and South Korea. China’s economy has doubled in the last 10 years, and it has driven 30 per cent of the world’s growth in GDP in the last decade. China is now Canada’s second-largest trading partner.
British Columbia is Canada’s gateway to the Pacific and, with ports closer to China than those in the mainland U.S., British Columbia can become a North American centre for Asia-Pacific trade.
Moreover, British Columbia’s large Chinese community creates a strong cultural tie to potential trading partners within the CCP. This advantage, coupled with an open trading economy, a strong multicultural society and our reputation as a renowned tourism destination mean that B.C. is well positioned to build on our Asia-Pacific connections as the Asia-Pacific continues to modernize and grow.
But the world won’t wait for us. Every country in the world is competing against us for a larger piece of the Asian economic opportunity. We need to establish our Pacific leadership agenda. We need to expand Gateway infrastructure and build stronger relationships with Asia-Pacific nations through such initiatives as inter-modal transportation links, cultural exchange opportunities, and educational partnerships and — with the federal government — immigration and international commerce links.
British Columbia will develop its infrastructure for B.C. and for the West to provide the same types of opportunities that the St. Lawrence Seaway did for Ontario and eastern Canada 50 years ago. Government will push for a unified Pacific Port Authority to ensure co-ordinated trade through all B.C. ports. We will work with the Northwest to establish an integrated port plan for the millions of container shipments that will come from increased trade. We will also work to establish an inland port at Prince George to move air, sea, and land cargo through to Asian and North American markets in record time.
As we open our northern and interior ports, British Columbia will use Public Private Partnerships or "P3s" to build the new South Fraser perimeter truck bypass highway. Other important infrastructure projects like the Pitt River Bridge and the Port Mann Bridge will get resources to markets. The Kicking Horse Canyon project will open up Canada’s gateway to the Pacific. Investments in airports, roads and bridges and critical improvements along Highway 97 and the Trans-Canada highway will create further links to markets and people beyond British Columbia’s borders.
British Columbia will launch a new Pacific Coast collaborative with Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and California. Directly to the south of our province is the U.S. coastal region, with close to 50 million people. California alone has 36 million people and a GDP 50 per cent larger than Canada’s. The collaborative will provide an opportunity to work together on a range of issues, [including climate change, ocean health and the environment, clean energy, transportation infrastructure, cross-border investment in emerging technology clusters, and initiatives in wellness and active living.]
$25 billion over 8 years to improve B.C. overseas trade
Premier says 17,000 additional jobs could be created by 2020
B.C. Premier Christy Clark released details of $25 billion public and private sector plan to expand trade with Asia by improving the province's transportation network.
Clark said that the spending is needed to increase trucking capacity on highways, rail capacity along existing rail corridors, air cargo movement, and both bulk and container terminal capacity at marine ports in Vancouver and Prince Rupert.
"We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to take advantage of the fastest growing economy in history," Premier Clark said in a press release.
"China is right at our doorstep — our ports are closer than anywhere else in North America. Our government is making sure we can get our goods to market as efficiently and quickly as possible and this strategy is a huge part of that plan."
But the largest chunk of spending is targeted to the natural gas industry, with $18 billion planned to go towards private sector pipeline and plant investment.
Clark said that the new investment would create at least 17,000 additional jobs by 2020, and would serve the export markets' demand for coal, forest products, potash, grain, and minerals.
Clark said that since 2005 over $22 billion had been committed by the province and its "Pacific Gateway Alliance partners" to add capacity to B.C.'s international trade corridors.
She said that projects worth $12 billion have been completed, and $10 billion's worth of projects are still underway — including Highway 1 improvements between Kamloops and Alberta, Highway 1 and Port Mann Bridge improvements in the Lower Mainland, and the South Fraser Perimeter Road.