Vancouver: Supplying China’s growing demand for clean energy technology and celebrating British Columbia’s strong cultural ties with China will be the major highlights of Premier Christy Clark’s third trade mission to China, which she embarks on today.

Premier Clark, along with International Trade Minister Teresa Wat, will be leading a delegation of approximately 200 business and community members, making this one of the largest trade mission delegations in B.C. history. Participation has been driven by the growing opportunities in China and the celebration of the 20th anniversary of sister-province relations between B.C. and Guangdong.

As China becomes more urbanized, it is reducing its dependence on coal and is moving toward alternative energy sources. Premier Clark will be promoting B.C.’s expertise in natural gas and climate change and clean energy solutions in various meetings with companies and organizations like the National Energy Administration and China Sinopec and in government-to-government meetings with representatives from Guangdong and Shenzhen.

“This trade mission is about acknowledging our strong historical and cultural ties with China, while looking to what the future holds as China shifts to a low carbon economy,” said Premier Clark. “We have the knowledge, expertise and resources to help China transition toward cleaner energy solutions. This trade mission is a great way to show Chinese business and government representatives what we can offer, stimulating clean technology and energy export opportunities for B.C. businesses.”

B.C. clean tech companies such as Ballard Power Systems, which is a member of the trade mission’s business delegation, have begun making significant inroads in China. Ballard has recently announced two deals to provide 10 fuel cell engines and enough fuel cells to support approximately 300 buses for the City of Foshan’s urban transit system. Foshan Vice-Mayor Xu Guo said in a statement the $6-million deal will help the city of 7.2 million people transition to clean mass-transit technology.

As part of its transition to new energy sources, China wants to double the usage of natural gas by 2020, and B.C. is prepared to meet that demand. Chilliwack-based IMW Industries, the world’s largest manufacturer of non-lubricated natural gas compressors and related technologies, is already capitalizing on the opportunities when it signed a one billion RMB (US $167 million) equipment purchase agreement with China Gas in 2013 to supply up to 416 natural gas compressors and related technologies for the construction of up to 310 natural gas stations in China over three years.

In recognition of the 20th anniversary celebration in Guangdong, British Columbia has proclaimed Nov. 1-7, 2015, as British Columbia-Guangdong Sister Province Week.

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