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Clark talks Asian trade and jobs plan at BC Business Council

Following the official unveiling of her "Canada Starts Here" jobs package yesterday, Premier Christy Clark spoke before the BC Business Council this afternoon to discuss the role that international trade will play in the province's economic future.

"Our future here lies over there," said Clark, emphasizing the need to expand trade with emerging markets in South and East Asia. "That is the future of the world, it is the future for British Columbia, and that is the future for Canada."

Clark outlined a number of specific proposals and plans to "reach out across the Pacific Ocean and strengthen those connections."

Specifically, the Premier promised to double the province's trade presence in Asia by funding the expansion of international trade offices and establishing a provincial hosting program to welcome and assist international business delegations.

In addition, Clark heralded plans to attract foreign investment to British Columbia, citing a new advertisement in the Asian edition of the Wall Street Journal as the first example of this effort.

"I'm going to be B.C.'s top salesperson," the Premier said, repeating a slogan introduced in yesterday's speech.

Going on to reiterate much of what she said yesterday afternoon before the Vancouver Board of Trade, Clark spoke about the need to bolster those internationally-oriented sectors of the B.C. economy, such as resource extraction, lumber, and international education.

The thrust of the jobs plan, says Clark, is "to defend and create jobs and attract that 'first new dollar' to British Columbia," referring to demand from abroad and international capital.

On November 4, the Premier will embark upon a trade mission to China and India.

A summary of Clark's "Canada Starts Here" plan, as reported in The Tyee yesterday, can be found here.

Ben Christopher reports for The Tyee.

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