By Teresa Wat
Minister of International Trade, BC
Our province has created deep historical, cultural and business ties with countries around the world enabling us to create strong trading partnerships and diversify our markets.
Each year B.C. welcomes close to 40,000 new immigrants because we recognize the importance of the wide-range of social and economic benefits associated with multiculturalism.
Today, B.C. is the most ethnically diverse province in Canada.
In British Columbia, multiculturalism is a competitive advantage and an important bridge that connects us with our neighbours around the world. Our cultural diversity is an asset that helps our economy grow and makes life better for our families.
One of my roles as Minister of International Trade and Minister responsible for Asia Pacific Strategy and Multiculturalism is to build on the connections between us - to connect businesses and communities in British Columbia with opportunities around the world.
We are building relationships with industry partners to advance B.C.'s economic interests. We are diversifying British Columbia's trading partners and promoting B.C. goods and services to international markets.
And we are networking to exchange business development leads to enhance trade between BC and other countries.
By leveraging our cultural and business connections to other countries, we strengthen trade relationships, attract new investment, and secure jobs.
Currently, Premier Christy Clark and I are on a trade mission to China, Korea and Japan.
While there we will promote British Columbia's competitive advantages - our vast resources, multicultural workforce and our stable financial system and low taxes. One of the main goals of this trade mission is to advance our liquefied natural gas development opportunities.
We will also leverage our multicultural workforce to create trade and investment opportunities. B.C.'s highly-skilled and globally-competitive workforce drives innovation and economic growth throughout the province providing jobs to support our families.
People from cultures and nations around the world bring their skills, talents, energy and hopes to our province. We welcome them - because we know that their success becomes our success. B.C. is a place where people from all cultures can build a prosperous future for their families and their businesses.
As Multiculturalism Week winds down let's take a minute to understand the important role that a dynamic multicultural society plays in growing our economy. We can all be part of this growth - by reaching out to family and business connections around the world and by making the effort to make newcomers feel welcome here in B.C.