Autumn Trade Mission grows B.C.’s trade and investment relationship with India

Autumn Trade Mission grows B.C.’s trade and investment relationship with India

November 28, 2016 Posted by Willow Easton

The Indian Finance Minister receives a plaque from B.C. during the recent trade mission

The recent eight-day trade mission lead by B.C. Finance Minister, The Honourable Michael de Jong, broke new ground in strengthening B.C.’s trade and investment relationship with India. The focus of the mission was to promote B.C. forest products and new trade and investment opportunities created by B.C.’s recent Masala bond issuance.
 
By 2030, India is expected to be the world’s third-largest economy behind the United States and China. 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. To build on the momentum of this significant export growth, B.C.’s autumn trade mission aimed to build stronger relationships in India, target key growth sectors and raise the profile and awareness of British Columbia in the Indian market.
 
The Minister traveled with a small delegation to India on October 20, 2016. The delegation was welcomed with a 308 attendee reception hosted at the Canadian High Commission in Delhi and held in partnership with the Federal Government and Air Canada to celebrate new opportunities, and the airline’s inaugural non-stop flight between Vancouver and New Delhi.  

Earlier that day the Minister was the keynote speaker at the annual conference of the India-Canada Business Council. The Minister used the opportunity to showcase B.C.’s capabilities in finance, energy and infrastructure. B.C. government staff participated on panels during the day and demonstrated the Province’s leadership in these areas.
 
While in New Delhi, de Jong met with Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, to discuss ways to continue to strengthen economic ties between India and British Columbia. De Jong presented him with a plaque recognizing B.C. as the first foreign government to issue a Masala Bond in this market. Next, the Minister met with the Indian Oil Corporation to discuss the recent federal government environmental approval of the Pacific North West LNG project and the interest of foreign investors in Masala bonds.
 
The Minister was hosted by the India Infrastructure Finance Company at a luncheon with the local business and finance community to promote infrastructure partnerships between British Columbia and India. Opportunities for business and government in both jurisdictions to collaborate in 2017 were discussed.
 
Mumbai was the next stop for the delegation, where B.C. hosted a partnership reception for 150 attendees from the finance, infrastructure business and film community.
 
Also while in Mumbai, the Minister attended a reception organized and hosted by Forestry Innovation Investment Ltd., B.C. Government's market development agency for forest products. Forestry Innovation Investment Ltd helps B.C. companies supply sustainably harvested wood products to the growing Indian market that includes the world’s largest middle class. The reception exhibited B.C. wood products and included companies involved in the Indian residential and institutional construction industry.
 
The Minister also met with Governor Urjit Patel of the Reserve Bank of India who appreciated the significance of the province choosing to be the first foreign government to issue in the Masala Bond market. The favourable reception given to the bond by international investors was discussed as well as the strong message of confidence which it conveyed in India’s outlook. This meeting was followed by a meeting with a senior board member of the Securities and Exchange Board of India who also wanted to hear about the province‘s favourable experience in the Masala Bond market.  
 
The remaining meetings in Mumbai were with banks and corporations with an interest in doing a future back to back Masala bonds with British Columbia, similar to the Province’s partnership with the Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC).
 
The Minister concluded his trip to India by visiting the state of Gujarat. Here he met with the Chief Minister of Gujarat to initiate a government to government relationship with the state. The province and the Minister were well received and are considering potential infrastructure and smart cities opportunities in the state.
 
Trade missions are a critical strategy for British Columbia to build partnerships and tap into economic opportunities with international trading partners. To learn more about B.C., contact our global network of B.C. Trade and Investment Representatives.
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