John Horgan to make first trip to Asia since elected B.C. premier

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      B.C. premier John Horgan has scheduled a trip to China for later this month.

      According to a media release, Horgan will also visit South Korea and Japan during a 10-day trip beginning on January 20.

      It will be the NDP leader’s first trip to Asia since becoming premier last July.

      "Building a strong, sustainable economy means working with global partners to enhance trade and generate good jobs for people in B.C.," Horgan said in the release. "Our province is open, inclusive and competitive, and we welcome the movement of people and the advancement of economic and cultural connections between our nations. This trip to Asia will strengthen ties with governments, business partners and the broader community, which will bring economic benefits to communities throughout B.C."

      It adds that Horgan will be accompanied by Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology Bruce Ralston and Minister of State for Trade George Chow as well as by Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Lisa Beare for the China leg of the trip.

      "This mission to China, South Korea and Japan is about establishing new government-to-government relationships and expressing that B.C. is open to international business," Ralston said quoted in the release. "Instead of looking to one sector to create jobs, we're working to strengthen traditional industries like forestry, energy and mining, while supporting the small business, tourism, agriculture, manufacturing and tech sectors."

      The government’s release announcing the trip makes no mention of liquefied-natural gas (LNG), a B.C. commodity for which the previous premier, Christy Clark, hoped Asia would become a lucrative market.

      Critics of the NDP’s decision to continue construction of the former Liberal government’s Site C dam have previously suggested that Horgan would use the Site C dam to help sell B.C. LNG to China and other Asian markets.

      “Whether it is #LNG or jobs building the #SiteC Dam to produce LNG, BC has sold the parking lot to China,” Harold Steves, a founder of B.C.’s Agriculture Land Reserve, wrote online on January 4.

      In May 2016, Clark drew criticism for a visit she made to South Korea, Japan, and the Philippines in October 2015 after it was reported that representatives for two real-estate companies accompanied her on the trip.

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