‘PRIORITY MARKET’: B.C. Government organizes forum to meet with India’s business leaders


Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, Pat Bell, says India and B.C. have ‘complimentary economies.’ Jason Payne/PNG

The Government of British Columbia has organized a forum in March to meet with business leaders from India, the “priority market” for the B.C. Jobs Plan.

The Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training is organizing the B.C.-India Global Business Forum for March 12 at the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre, where leaders from both economies can connect and discuss trade and investment opportunities.

“It’ll be an interesting dialogue because we’re expecting a fair number of people coming from India for this,” Minister Pat Bell told Vancouver Desi. “(And) we have very complEmentary economies.”

While Canada has many natural resources and a very small population base, India is population-rich, with the largest middle-class in the world — but natural resource poor.

“The opportunity to tap into what is a very rapidly growing economy is attractive from our perspective,” said Bell.

The Ministry hopes to create new export opportunities and greater awareness of the advantages of trading with B.C.

Bell said the forum is “just simply about building relationships,” making connections and understanding the business protocols in India.

But he hopes these connections will flourish into an expansion of Canada’s natural resource sectors like agriculture, forestry, mining and natural gas, as well as opportunities in expanding British Columbia’s international and higher level education and the local tourism industry.

“All of the kind of core sectors that we focus on in the job plan are very much at play here,” said Bell.

President of the Canada-India Business Council’s B.C. Chapter, Vivek Savkur, will also be at the forum and hopes more than government officials take part.

“While it is clear that all levels of government have to play a role in fostering ties between Canada and India, it is the business community that should step into the huge and attractive Indian market and cement this relationship through trade and investment,” he said. “(And) the Canada-India Business Council is doing its part to ensure that B.C. companies learn the opportunities in India and have the wherewithal to pursue them.”

According to Bell, the forum is a way to “really kick off our efforts to expand the Indian market,” which he believes they’ve already done so far by opening two new offices in Mumbai and Chandigarh.

“Between that and some of the other things that we’re focusing on … there’s a really good opportunity to expand our market there,” he said.


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