B.C. is an important transportation gateway for the entire country. In a province founded and grown on the extraction and movement of resources and goods, our geography is our most valuable resource. This strategic advantage must be leveraged through policies which ensure the continued growth and efficiency of our gateway. It requires the promotion of both interprovincial and international trade, and the development of the physical infrastructure necessary to move our goods and resources to markets. The future of our regional, provincial, and national economies will be dependent on how effectively our gateway is able to connect us with economies around the world.
To ensure that our province is able to create a more competitive business environment, the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade recommends that the next Provincial Government:
- Strengthen inter-provincial trade relations, ensuring that any new Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) guarantees greater inter-provincial recognition of qualifications, and find ways to better enable small and medium-sized businesses to export to new markets;
- Support an industry-led program to permanently improve B.C.'s SME exporting performance in a coordinated, aligned and strategic way, collaborating with government, industry stakeholders, First Nations and entrepreneurs;
- Continue implementing a practical, realistic, and timely action plan aimed at bringing new projects online and signalling B.C.'s readiness to serve global markets for LNG, oil and gas, and other natural resources which drive our economy forward;
- Making strategic and appropriate investments in trade-enabling infrastructure, including:
- Port expansion at Roberts Bank Terminal 2; and
- Increased rail capacity in the Lower Mainland;
- Take immediate inventory of industrial land in the Province, and continue to develop a comprehensive provincial land use strategy which includes protection of industrial land within an overall economic strategy; and 6. Explore new ways to enable small and medium size businesses to tap into foreign markets.
Where they stand
Major export and gateway initiatives of the BC Green Party include the promotion of value-added wood products abroad, working with the federal government to sign trade agreements, and developingthe infrastructure necessary to export electricity to Alberta.
The BC Liberal platform promises the expansion of many of their programs to increase B.C.’s export capacity. They will expand the Export Navigator pilot program, increase the presence of Trade and Investment Offices in the U.S. (specifically in Silicon Valley, Seattle, and Washington D.C.) and provide the BC Chamber of Commerce with $50,000 to support their #TradeTalks exporting conference. They have also pledged to support Washington State Governor Jay Inslee’s exploration of stronger transportation connections between Seattle and Vancouver and increase exports of agrifood and seafood products by 25% by 2020.
Their platform provides funding for trade-enabling infrastructure projects such as the Ashcroft Terminal inland port expansion.
They continue their promise to develop B.C.’s Liquefied Natural Gas Industry (LNG) and push to tap into growing energy demand in Asia. They aim to have three LNG facilities moving to construction by 2020. They promise to further develop the oil and gas reserves in the Montney Basin, and promote downstream refining within B.C.
The BC NDP platform provides supports for specific industries to tap into new markets. Their “Grow BC, Feed BC, Buy BC” strategy promises a marketing campaign aimed at helping B.C. food producers export. The BC NDP platform wants to expand the global market for B.C. forestry products, and reduce raw log exports and instead support value-added wood products. To help these products enter new markets they will support the industry in meeting building material tests. They also identify manufacturing as an important exporter in our province. Their platform promises to “partner with manufacturers to develop a multi-year growth strategy to support the sector in meeting its staffing needs and to expand exports.”
For LNG exports, the BC NDP has proposed four conditions that each project must meet. These include offering jobs and training for British Columbians, especially local people; a “fair return” for resources; full partnership with local First Nations; and completing a made-in-B.C. environmental assessment.
They have also promised to “revitalize the land reserve and the Agricultural Land Commission for the 21st century.”