British Columbia should continue to focus on Building Connections with Asia

  • May 10, 2013

By Ken Peacock

More so than other jurisdictions in Canada, BC’s economy is being reshaped by Asia’s influence on the global stage. The sheer size of the population in the region suggests that BC should be doing everything it can to continue to leverage the economic benefits coming out of Asia.

Source: http://i.imgur.com/CK6aONG.jpg

In succinct terms, the graphic highlights the rise and influence of Asia in a global context. The world’s two most populous countries –China and India – are in the circle. But so are Indonesia (247 million), Pakistan (183 million), Philippines (98 million), Japan (126 million and showing signs of stronger economic growth). Together the countries total more than half of the world’s population in a relatively concentrated geographic region. Perhaps more significantly, led by China and India, most of the countries within the circle are experiencing rapid economic growth.

BC Merchandise Exports 2003 and 2012, billions $

The combination of strong growth and large populations is already reshaping BC’s trade patterns. Last year BC shipped nearly $14 billion into the circle on the map. This amounted to 43% of all BC’s merchandise exports. And reorientation towards Asia has been dramatic. Just a decade back only 23% of all provincial exports were shipped to countries located in the circle. Although the gradual recovery in the US will temper the realignment towards Asia somewhat, given global growth patterns and recent trends in BC’s exports it is still likely that with four or five years BC’s exports will mirror the proportion of the global population living in the circle and we will ship more than half of all our merchandise exports across the Pacific to Asia. By way of comparison, the rest of Canada ships just 8% of merchandise exports to countries in the circle.