BCBC In The News
Vancouver Sun: Chinese Manufacturer sets up BC plant for fibre-optic components
[Excerpt] The deal to bring F-Pacific to B.C. was two years in the making, and for the recently formed HQ Vancouver initiative aimed at attracting more Asia-based businesses to the province it represents an early success.
“The short-term significance is the establishment of a real facility that will employ hundreds of people and produce hundreds of millions of dollars of exports,” said Vancouver HQ president Yuen Pau Woo, formerly CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada.
“That’s not trivial at all in a time when global economic conditions are tough,” Woo said, but the longer term significance is in F-Pacific’s ambitions to expand in North America.
While North America has a lot of fibre-optic trunk networks, Woo said the continent remains relatively under-served when it comes to fibre-optic connections directly to households.
“If (F-Pacific) can penetrate the North American market working with Telus, Rogers, Bell and Sprint, and all the other suppliers, imagine the kind of expansion we could see in North America.”
For Woo, who heads an initiative funded by Canada, B.C. and the Business Council of B.C., F-Pacific is something of a beacon for other Asian companies evaluating this province as a viable beachhead for North American operations.
“Location, business environment, IP protection, political stability, skilled labour force — we’ve got it all,” Woo said. “And if it’s true for F-Pacific, it’s true for other companies that want to locate here.”
Journal of Commerce: Experts predict growth at inaugural outlook seminar
[Excerpt] Ken Peacock, the chief economist and vice president of the Business Council of British Columbia, began by calling the world economy a "serial disappointment."
He said the U.S. is gaining momentum, which will help Canada and British Columbia, but questioned if this would continue.
Peacock said the Eurozone is barely growing, Japan is faltering and China is decelerating, which may affect the province.
He noted that B.C. has huge potential with billions of dollars in proposed energy projects – the only catch is getting them past the finish line.
Vancouver Sun, Barbara Yaffe: BC's export base remains heavily dependent on resources
The value of B.C.’s merchandise exports is at an all-time high, but the province cannot keep counting on the meteoric growth it has recently experienced in its trade with China.
Since 2004, goods exports to China have grown by ”an astonishing 420 per cent,” notes Ken Peacock, chief economist at the Business Council of B.C.
As of last year, the province was shipping 40 per cent of its exports to Pacific Rim countries, up from 25 per cent a decade ago. But that party may be over.
In a new report on B.C. trade, Peacock is predicting that “strong growth in exports to China will not go on indefinitely and ... are more likely to expand at a more subdued pace as that economy transitions toward more domestic consumption rather than export-led growth.”
That does not mean, however, that trade volumes overall are about to stagnate in B.C.
Saanich News: Victoria MP sees little help for families in federal budget
[Excerpt] Business Council of B.C. president Greg D’Avignon said balancing the national budget, investing in transit and providing investment incentives for industries such as liquefied natural gas and forestry will help offset the effects of a slump in oil prices and weak commodity markets.
The Hill Times: Ministers, PM target Vancouver, Winnipeg, Kitchener in post-budget tour: all about holding seats, say strategists
[Excerpt] So far, the highest concentration of budget announcements has been in the greater Vancouver area. National Revenue Minister Kerry Lynne Findlay (Delta-Richmond East, B.C.) went to Vancouver, Surrey and Delta on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to highlight the budget, and Industry Minister James Moore (Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam, B.C.) delivered a speech on Wednesday to the Business Council of British Columbia.
Vancouver Sun, Editorial: Fast-growing India offers opportunities for B.C.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the Lower Mainland last week drew attention to potential benefits from stronger links between B.C. and the world’s fastest-growing major economy.
India’s GDP grew by 7.2 per cent last year. This year the developing democracy, with an expanding middle class and vast population of young people, is expected to expand 7.5 per cent, surpassing that of China.
Yet a new report from the Business Council of B.C. reveals only 1.6 per cent of this province’s merchandise exports go to India (mainly copper, coal, wood pulp and newsprint).
By comparison, the Chinese market accounts for 18 per cent of our goods exports, and Japan 10.2 per cent.
Journal of Commerce Blog: Ken Peacock of the Business Council of British Columbia at the ICBA Industry Outlook
Ken Peacock, the chief economist and vice president of the Business Council of British Columbia addressed an audience of industry leaders at the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA) Industry Outlook held April 23 in Burnaby, British Columbia.
Peacock began by calling the world economy a "serial disappointment." The United States is gaining momentum, which will help Canada and British Columbia, but questioned if this would continue.
Peacock said the Eurozone is barely growing, Japan is faltering, and China is decelerating, which may affect British Columbia.
The big macro-economic variables are low interest rates and the exchange rate. The exchange rate is good for exports, but not great for consumers, who will feel the cross-border pinch.
But the depreciating exchange rate does improve Canada's competitiveness, though "it's not a long term strategy," Peacock said.
Vancouver Sun, Editorial: Tory budget disappoints on infrastructure
The Harper government’s budget, tabled on Tuesday, bypassed crucial infrastructure needs of cities like Vancouver in favour of putting cash quickly and directly into the hands of targeted groups of voters in an election year.
The government did not have much room to manoeuvre, balancing its budget with a relatively modest $1.4-billion surplus for contingencies.
The Canadian Press (News 1130): B.C. will get infrastructure cash despite vote outcome in Metro Vancouver: feds
Industry Minister James Moore says British Columbia will get its fair share of federal infrastructure funding regardless of the outcome of a Metro Vancouver transit tax vote.
Speaking to a gathering of business leaders, Moore said the federal government would provide the province with promised investment dollars whether or not voters approve the historic transit plebiscite.
A proposed $7.5-billion public transportation overhaul over 10 years would include projects such as an upgraded rapid-transit system, a new bridge and additional buses.
“We know that our cities are getting more dense and more congested,” said Moore, who was in Vancouver for a meeting with members of the B.C. Business Council.
Peace Arch News: B.C. endorses Ottawa's balanced budget
[Excerpt] Business Council of B.C. president Greg D'Avignon said balancing the national budget, investing in transit and providing investment incentives for industries such as liquefied natural gas and forestry will help offset the effects of a slump in oil prices and weak commodity markets.
Business in Vancouver: Lower Taxes for small business? Bad idea, say economists
[Excerpt] Lowering the rate further is only going to increase the already wide tax gap between small and larger companies, said Jock Finlayson, chief policy officer with the Business Council of British Columbia.
Dropping the tax rate to 9% will mean small businesses in B.C. will pay a combined federal and provincial tax of just 11.5%, compared to the 26% larger businesses pay.
That provides an incentive for businesses to stay under the $500,000 profit threshold, and that’s bad for Canada’s overall economy, argued Finlayson.
“Our problem is not that we have enough small companies. Our problem is that we’re drowning in them,” Finlayson said. “Large companies drive most of the exports, they do most of the R&D, they pay their workers higher wages and benefits.”
Vancouver Sun: B.C. cities, businesses lobby for more funding in advance of budget announcement
[Excerpt] And Jock Finlayson, head of the B.C. Business Council, said Monday his organization would prefer more spending on bricks and mortar even if it means the country stays in the red for an extra year.
“Record-low interest rates and borrowing costs make now an excellent time for the national government to increase spending on infrastructure development,” said Finlayson, the council’s executive vice-president and chief policy officer.
Key B.C. priorities include proposed new rapid transit lines in the Lower Mainland and an upgraded Trans-Canada Highway, according to Finlayson.
He also said most in the B.C. business community would likely be happy if the government delayed balancing the budget for a year in order to inject several billion into infrastructure.
“Generally the business community supports balanced budgets,” he told The Vancouver Sun. “But in the current environment of very slow economic growth and tepid job growth there is a risk that contractionary fiscal policy at the national government level could impart additional weakness to an already sluggish Canadian economy.”
Finlayson said B.C. corporate leaders would also like to see Ottawa “step up its profile and commitment to collaborative engagement and capacity-building with Aboriginal communities in the province.”
BC Business Magazine: B.C. has a water problem
[Excerpt] While the Business Council of B.C. supports the legislative overhaul, they are concerned about the focus on large-scale industrial users. “In B.C., the natural resource sector attracts a disproportionate amount of attention in water use discussions, even though the cumulative sum of many small users may have as large or a larger impact on water quantity and quality than all of the industrial users,” it said in a 2014 submission to the province.
Denise Mullen, director of environment and sustainability for the Business Council, wants a plan that exempts saline water from regulations. The council doesn’t want large cost increases and would like all users to report water use: “If you exempt people from reporting—say, mostly domestic users—you don’t have a complete picture.”
Ken Peacock speaks with Jon McComb on CKNW
Ken Peacock speaks with Jon McComb on CKNW about BC's Natural Resource sector as part of Putting BC to Work
Higher Ground Video of Exports: putting B.C. to work
Increased economic activity through exports creates jobs and lots of them. That’s the message the president of Export Development Canada delivered at the Business Council of British Columbia and CKNW’s “Putting B.C. to Work” event.
Benoit Daignault says despite the downturn in the energy sector, B.C.’s natural resource exports are still No. 1 and going strong. Hear what he has to say and more from panelist Woodfibre LNG vice president Byng Giraud, only on this week’s Higher Ground by ResourceWorks.com.
ExportWise: Vision and Luck: Why BC is Canada's Most Diverse Economy
[Excerpt] As an outlier within the Canadian economy, B.C. is certainly its most diverse. Right now, B.C. sends 44 per cent of its exports to Asia, the highest percentage by far of any province. (The next closest in terms of export percentage is Saskatchewan, which sends just over 20 per cent of its products to Asia.)
Why? A combination of vision and luck, says Greg D’Avignon, President and CEO of the Business Council of British Columbia (BCBC), which provides public-policy research and advice on issues to enhance B.C.’s competitiveness.
No doubt, the province has natural and historic ties to Asia. With a large diaspora of Asians living in B.C., more than 40 per cent of its residents are of Asian descent, giving Vancouver bragging rights as the most diversified city in North America.
But for many other reasons, including the lower Canadian dollar, U.S. economic growth and stronger consumer confidence, B.C. is easily outpacing Canadian economic growth right now.
Certainly in the last three years, the energy story has gained some ground, particularly liquefied natural gas (LNG). With more than $300 billion in contemplated projects coming up, LNG is the bottle opener, he adds. “If not the future of B.C., it’s definitely a big play moving forward,” says D’Avignon.
Vancouver Sun, Barbara Yaffe: B.C.’s forestry industry a vital, neglected economic force
B.C.’s forestry sector may not be as sexy as a potential liquefied natural gas industry in the north or all the high-tech companies that have been moving to Vancouver, but it is time the provincial government started showing it some renewed love.
A report by the Business Council of B.C. touts the sector as highly productive and a great job generator — “one of the province’s dominant economic engines”.
But the council warns that the industry is about to experience a contraction, and faces a host of competitiveness challenges.
Business in Vancouver: High-growth companies debate allure of Vancouver
[Excerpt] Despite the challenges high-growth companies face when headquartered in Vancouver, the Business Council of British Columbia (BCBC) is banking on the city’s advantages as an attractive place to live.
In February, the BCBC’s $6.5 million HQ Vancouver program began identifying targets and building business cases for corporate relocations from Asia to B.C.
Greg D’Avignon, CEO of the BCBC, told Business in Vancouver at the time of the launch that Montreal, Toronto and Calgary have all been far more assertive carving out niches for corporate headquarters for aerospace, financial services and oil and gas companies.
Business in Vancouver: B.C. business eyes Seattle's $15 minimum wage experiment
[Excerpt] Economists, labour leaders and business groups agree it’s time B.C. followed a yearly process for predictable increases to the minimum wage. Other Canadian provinces and several U.S. states already tie their minimum wage to inflation.
B.C.’s previous ad hoc approach led to the province’s hourly minimum wage being frozen at $8 between 2001 and 2011. That stasis was not good for B.C.’s economy, said Jock Finlayson, executive vice-president and chief policy officer at the Business Council of BC.
“We were concerned that freezing it was reducing the purchasing power of the people who are paid at minimum wage,” Finlayson said, “and that it was also going to build up pressure for a big jump in the minimum wage, which is just what happened.”
Finlayson said studies by economists have shown that small increases in the minimum wage don’t have a negative impact on employment. But far less is known about the impact of a big increase.
“We don’t have a lot of real-world examples in the kind of things Seattle is doing,” Finlayson said.