Friday, January 10, 2014

North America's Asia

There are benefits from the trade diversification Vancouver has with Asia. During the first half of 1995, exports to the Asian region grew by 46 percent with the total value increasing by $5 billion. That is a lot of money going into our economy. In 1994, the total value of B.C. exports into the region totalled $22.8 billion.  According to the British Columbia government website, that number was $32.8 billion in 2011.

Back in 1864, when the Ellen Lewis began this chapter in B.C. history, the commodity being shipped was lumber and while that remains a dominant export, other products are leaving our shores for other destinations. Items such as pulp, paper, coal and metals are important as are a growing list of manufactured and highly valued agri-food products. As well, made in B.C. items such as submarines, ultra-deep-sea diving suits, state-of-the-art computer-mapping technology, aerospace equipment, electronic communication, battery technology, and trucks and other heavy equipment all find their way to Asia.
I have heard Australia described as the "lucky country". The land down under apparently has many of the same attributes as B.C. And British Columbia has been described the same way by others in Canada. This province is in a geographical location ideal for the growth of Pacific Rim trade and that is true. But just because we are the closest major seaport on the North American West Coast, that isn't the only reason that B.C. has a profitable relationship with Asian countries.

Our politicians work hard to expand economic, cultural and business ties with the Pacific Rim. For example, the expansion of the Vancouver International Airport in the nineties made it a leading North American hub for the Pacific Rim and the Port of Vancouver itself is presently going through an expansion. This will further solidify Vancouver's claim as North America's major West Coast transportation clearing house for imports and exports.
In 1994, seven of the top ten destinations for goods were Pacific Rim countries. Led by Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Indonesia and Australia. On the import side Japan, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Australia, Thailand and Peru dominated the top ten. The top three port users for total imports and exports were Japan, South Korea and China.

To many the Pacific Rim means Asia but it is much more than that. A new era has dawned on this major region of the Rim and markets on the Pacific coast of South America are opening. I am pleased to read this province is taking advantage of this new economic opportunity.

This journey started before Vancouver was incorporated and I can see it continuing in various forms for eons to come.

 Thanks goes to The Greater Vancouver Book, Chuck Davis Editor in Chief. The section I referred to for this entry and Wednesday's is entitled Pacific Rim Trade by Ashley Ford.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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