Local leaders and business representatives are back in Canada after 10 days spent in meetings around China.
A delegation of mayors, regional district chairs, senior staff and business representatives, from the Cariboo Regional District as well as the Metro Vancouver Regional District made up the trade mission, co-ordinated by the CRD.
“The fact that we had five mayors and a regional district chair, which has never been done before, [made it] a very high profile trip which made it very successful because of that,” says 100 Mile Mayor Mitch Campsall.
For the elected representatives on the delegation, the mission was about building relationships and fostering connections between the Cariboo and the People’s Republic of China.
The next step, says CRD chair Al Richmond, is to build on the momentum started by the trip and to start creating linkages between the two countries, particularly with the city of Suzhou.
“Our job is to connect all the dots and see that nothing gets lost in the mix.”
He says there is opportunity with the school district for high school exchanges, as well as connecting local chambers of commerce and the tourism industry with interested parties.
The presence of elected representatives added weight to the business side of the delegation as well.
From the area, Meridian RV, Sitka Log Homes, Trinity Post and Panel and Tolko sent executives on the trip.
Ken Harper, C.E.O. of Trinity Post and Panel based out of 108 Mile Ranch, says that interest in wood construction and house building was quite high.
“My timing was quite good and there are certainly a lot of prospects and we have folks from China coming to see us over the next six weeks,” he says.
It was an opportunity that he wouldn’t have had otherwise, he says, and has already been invited back to China.
“This would have been impossible. Without a delegation, without meeting the right people and having that [trip] pre-planned, then you are going to struggle,” he says.
“The one thing that [stood out] for me the most was how vast China is and how much opportunity there is there. It’s incredible. It was a real eye-opener.”