Michael de Jong
Michael de Jong
Michael de Jong

Finance Minister Michael de Jong is leading an investor tour to India to advance bilateral trade and investment opportunities for B.C. businesses, and to promote the province’s stable economy.

The minister will travel to India aboard Air Canada’s inaugural non-stop flight between Vancouver and New Delhi. He will be in India from Oct. 22-29, where he will meet with federal and state government officials, as well as leaders in India’s financial and business community including the Reserve Bank of India, the Securities and Exchange Board of India, Indian Oil, financial institutions and investors.

One of the areas of focus will be promoting the new trade and investment opportunities created by B.C.’s recent Masala bond issuance. British Columbia is the first foreign government to issue a bond in the Indian offshore market, demonstrating B.C.’s confidence in the future of India’s economy and enhancing B.C.’s profile as a trade and investment partner with India. The bond issue also builds the Province’s reputation as an innovator among AAA-rated peers in diversifying sources of funding.

B.C. exports to India have jumped from $201 million in 2011 to $623 million in 2015, making India B.C.’s fifth-largest trading partner. Key exports include copper, coal and wood products. By 2030, India is expected to be the world’s third-largest economy behind the United States and China.

To build on the momentum of this significant export growth, B.C. has developed a strategy for growing trade and investment with India. Through this strategy, B.C. will build stronger relationships in India, target key growth sectors and raise the profile and awareness of British Columbia in the Indian market. Specific examples include:

  • Helping British Columbians find export opportunities and investment sources in India through B.C.’s trade and investment presence in New Delhi, Mumbai and Chandigarh.
  • Committing $5 million over three years to promote a stronger B.C. wood brand in India. This investment helps B.C. companies establish themselves as the world’s leading suppliers of sustainably harvested wood products to a market that includes the world’s largest middle class.
  • Working on a reciprocal arrangement between Partnerships BC and the Indian Infrastructure Finance Corporation that would see representatives from the provincial Crown corporation working in India to learn and share knowledge and experience, with representatives from India coming to B.C. to do the same.

After meetings in India, de Jong will travel to Malaysia to explore opportunities to further bilateral economic relations.

Trade missions are a critical part of British Columbia’s strategy to diversify its international trading partners and secure new investment, propelling economic activity and job creation throughout the province.

The estimated travel and accommodation cost for the minister and his chief of staff is approximately $38,000. Information on final costs will be made available.

Minister of Finance Michael de Jong said: “Starting off this trade mission by celebrating B.C. and India being directly linked by air demonstrates the strong ties that we are building between our two jurisdictions and how we are more closely connected than ever before. On this mission, we will continue to build on these ties through face-to-face meetings with decision makers in key sectors such as forestry and finance to open doors for B.C. businesses looking to capitalize on India’s growing economy.”