VANCOUVER, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- Canada's British Columbia's Premier John Horgan and top ministers from his new provincial government are preparing for a 10-day trade trip to China, Japan and South Korea beginning on Jan. 20 this year.
The trade mission marks the first such trip to Asia since the New Democrat Party formed a coalition government with the B.C. Green Party after the provincial election last summer.
The new government says the trip will provide a chance to build rapport with their Asian counterparts and to promote B.C.'s tourism industry and wood products.
Horgan will be joined on the trip by Bruce Ralston, minister of jobs, trade and technology, and George Chow, minister of state for trade.
Lisa Beare, B.C.'s minister of tourism, arts and culture, will join the delegation on the China portion of the trip.
In China, the top priorities are to build up a rapport with government officials and business leaders while promoting B.C. tourism and wood products, said Chow, in an interview with Xinhua this week.
"What needs to go right is that we meet as many people as we can," Chow said. "We have to discuss trade issues so that we can actually promote our products, as well as learn what they can sell to us as well."
Chow said they will spend the first day of the trip in Guangdong Province and then two-and-a-half days in Beijing.
"We will actively promote tourism in Guangdong because we know a large number of visitors are coming to B.C.) from that province," he said.
"I think that's important - not just the hard goods that we're trading - but we're also trading on soft goods, which is cultural exchanges and tourism," he said.
Chow said they will also have the chance to speak with the Canadian ambassador to China in Beijing.
"We have a lot to offer in terms of our products, agricultural products and our clean energy technology, and even our lumber," he said.
"I think there is a great opportunity to use wood (in China) as a finishing material to help to offset using brick as a way of finishing interiors," Chow said. "When you make brick, it's very energy intensive and it also produces a lot of greenhouse gases, and the wood could actually help in terms of insulation value and actually decrease energy requirements."
The trip comes amid rising concerns in Canada over U.S. President Donald Trump' s continued threats to terminate the North American Free Trade Agreement.
On that front, Chow said the B.C. government remains hopeful the Canadian trade delegates can work out a new deal with the U.S. and Mexico.
"But if not, I think this is why we're looking to other markets," Chow said. "We're now realizing that looking across the Pacific is really the way to go in terms of diversifying our positions."
Chow said he is expecting a "very intense" trip that could kick-off a lasting relationship between his government and counterparts in China, Japan and South Korea. "We need to have a persistent presence in Asia in order to promote trade and to be successful at it," he said.