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Horgan not ruling out trade mission to China this year

Last Updated Apr 8, 2019 at 9:17 am PDT

FILE- B.C. Premier John Horgan in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

Premier John Horgan has changed his mind about visiting China on a trade mission within the next year

Previously Horgan said he wouldn't be visiting the country until Ottawa resolves issues with Huawei exec Meng Wanzhou

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Premier John Horgan has changed his mind about visiting China on a trade mission within the next year.

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A few weeks ago, he said he wouldn’t go until Ottawa resolves conflicts linked to the arrest of Huawei telecom executive Meng Wanzhou.

Now, he says he wants to visit B.C.’s second-largest trading partner because forestry-related business with China is worth more than four-billion dollars a year.

“We have opportunities with Structurlam products, cross-laminated timber and mass timber construction to create even larger markets in China and in fact, around the world,” he says.

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He says he had other reasons for staying in Canada during a government break last month and he plans to visit Asia again within a year.

“I had a number of agreements to sign with Indigenous communities that I could not do when the house was sitting, so I changed my international travel plans,” he says. “There was no international relation reason for my not going to Asia, other than I had work to do here in British Columbia.”

British Columbia bearing ‘brunt’ of impact from Huawei arrest: Horgan

As the country’s gateway to Asia, Horgan says the province is bearing the brunt of the impact of Canada’s tense relationship with Wanzhou.

Speaking at the Council of Forest Industries convention in Vancouver Friday, Horgan described Meng’s arrest as “profoundly regrettable,” but adds “extradition treaties are extradition treaties” and he doesn’t think the federal government had any other option.

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Meng was arrested in Vancouver in December on a request from the United States, which wants her extradiated to face charges including conspiracy, fraud and obstruction.

Horgan says the province does have an option, and that’s to continue to be aggressive and forward-looking when it comes to trade with Asia.

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He says it’s a critically important market and boosting innovation in export products will be a ticket to success, adding that the province has an opportunity to grow the market for engineered wood products.

B.C. does billions in trade with China and Horgan says he’s confident that relationship remains in good shape.