Trade winds hot air?

Last week, the provincial New Democrats announced - as part of the party's plan to spur economic activity if it forms government - they would "expand BC's trade promotion with 6 new offices to take advantage of emerging trade opportunities." But not only does the party not know where some of those offices will be located, it's also following in the footsteps of an initiative launched four years ago by the Campbell administration.

On February 8, 2005, the government promised to open a "network of B.C. Trade and Cultural Centres in key international markets that will work to make B.C.'s products available to the rest of the world." And, by this end of the summer, the government is scheduled to have nine such trade and investment offices across the globe.

The New Democrats, without saying so, have committed to expand on that promise. But, in an interview with Public Eye, party communications officer Chris Gainor wasn't able to say where those offices will be located.

"We haven't made a decision on all six of them," said Mr. Gainor. "I think there are some thoughts about some of them. But we're not ready to announce them yet."


Existing trade and investment office openings

2006 - Palo Alto, California; European Union (four offices later consolidated into two in London, United Kingdom and Hamburg, Germany)
2007 - Shanghai, China; Tokyo, Japan
2008 - Seoul, South Korean
2009 - Beijing and Guangzhou, China; Bangalore, India (opening this summer)


The locations of these trade missions will be a separate announcement in course of the campaign. The key point is that more trade promotion will help support BC businesses and BC jobs, and that the Campbell Liberals' recent budget cuts trade and tourism promotion. We will expand - they cut.

Following a review of all programs in the early days of the campbell government, they cut all the trade offices, paid off the staff, paid to get out of leases etc. Then, they reinstituted them, hired staff, paid leases. What was their logic? Initially they insisted that trade offices didn't do anything, that they were an NDP invention that wasted money. The NDP did a good job of establishing trade offices in key areas of economic potential. Now the Campbell "good money managers" are having to spend extra money "starting up" what they took apart. Dig a hole, fill it up type of policy making is expense when it comes to running government.

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