In my capacity as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, I travelled to Vietnam, Singapore and Brunei during the last week of April. Our government is strengthening commercial ties with South East Asia to open new opportunities for Canada and especially to promote our wood products in existing and new markets. Canada is internationally recognized as a trusted exporter of legally sourced and sustainably managed forest products. Both of these characteristics are increasingly important to the world’s lumber importers. Over the course of four business days I held over 30 meetings. Here are some highlights and reflections.
In Vietnam I met with wood importers and a range of industry associations. On the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City we visited the husband and wife team at Huu Ich One Member Company Inc. who import lumber from Canada. They are Vietnamese Canadians, having settled in the Maritimes, where they still live – a great example of people to people connections between our two countries – and just one of many importers of lumber from Canada.
My visit to Singapore corresponded with the Sea Asia conference, which is a major event for the maritime and shipping industry in Asia. During the conference the Menon report on international maritime capitals was released, naming Vancouver as a rising force in the international maritime sector for the first time. The tour of the port of Singapore was very interesting. Of particular note is the massive amount of land reclamation that Singapore relies upon, and the fact that they are moving the original port location away from the central business district in order to facilitate port expansion on the periphery, and to ensure that the heart of downtown is enjoyed by people for housing, tourism, recreation and entertainment.
In Brunei, the CAE Brunei Multi Purpose Training Centre was established in 2012 as a joint venture between CAE (Canada) and the government of Brunei. The facility is playing a leading role in Brunei developing a niche role in Southeast Asia for expertise in defence, aviation and emergency/crisis management training.
Throughout the trip we focused primarily on promoting softwood lumber. My thanks to Glen Bonderud, Sunshine Coast Community Forest, who is one of several individuals whose BC knowledge and experience is also helping me in this role.
As always, I welcome your comments and feedback on our government’s work. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, connect with us on Facebook: Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, or stop by our community office in Horseshoe Bay, 6367 Bruce Street 604-913-2660.