British Columbia to open trade office in India
British Columbia will soon become the second Canadian province after Ontario to set up a trade office in India to promote business with the second fastest growing economy in the world.
The office could be located in Mumbai or Bangalore, though Delhi and Chandigarh have not been ruled out.
Making the announcement here, Economic Development Minister Colin Hansen said: "The strong potential for cooperation in research and development, joint technology development and pharmaceutical research make India an exciting partner for British Columbia."
Ontario - which is called the engine of the Canadian economy - already has a trade office in Delhi.
The British Columbian decision assumes great significance as Indo-Canadians form a huge chunk of its population, with Sikhs alone accounting for 3.5 percent of the total.
The decision is part of the larger Canadian "look east policy" to seek strategic ties with emerging Asian economies and reduce dependence on the US, which accounts for more than 90 percent of its trade.
British Columbia already has trade offices in the US, China, Japan and Europe.
Hansen said a trade office in India "will facilitate collaborations and partnerships and promote British Columbia as a globally competitive business location".
The minister said Asia Pacific was the key to British Columbia's long-term prosperity.
"British Columbia's goal to connect with the region is expected to provide as much as $77 billion in increased trade and 255,000 new jobs by 2020."
Although the Indian IT hub of Bangalore and the nation's commercial capital of Mumbai were being considered for the proposed trade office, the government will consult businesses about it, Hansen said.
The decision comes after the India Market Advisory Group of the Asia Pacific Trade Council, in its report last year, asked the province to open an office in India.
"This was one of the key recommendations of our report. A British Columbia presence in India will definitely enhance trade and investment between the province and India. This is long overdue," said India Market Advisory Group Chairperson Arun Garg.