Canada aims to become China’s preferred North American gateway

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VANCOUVER, B.C. — B.C. and Canadian officials are heading to China on a trade mission they hope will see the province establish itself as the North American gateway of choice among Asian shippers.

"China is our third largest trading partner and its economy is booming," said Transport Minister, Kevin Falcon. "This trade mission will help us better understand the demands China’s growing economy will place on our transportation infrastructure so we can take steps to capitalize on this growth."

Asia-Pacific container traffic is expected to surge 300 per cent in the next 15 years. Officials point out even a one per cent increase in container traffic through B.C. ports means an additional $250 million per year and 4,000 new jobs in the province. The B.C. port industry has the potential to grow to support 50,000 jobs pumping $1.7 billion into the economy.

"British Columbia’s geographic location gives us a tremendous natural advantage as the Pacific Gateway to North America," said Falcon. "We have to highlight and promote the competitive advantages of our marine and air ports, highway and rail systems, as well our cultural ties, to ensure that the business doesn’t go somewhere else."

Federal Transport Minister Jean-C. Lapierre, will lead the trade mission while 30 other senior executives from various transportation sectors will also attend. They will meet with Chinese officials in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong Sept. 1-7.

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