Growth and Greater Diversity in BC's Export Base: Primer on BC exports

As a small, open economy British Columbia has always depended on and prospered from its international connections. These linkages have been steadily enhanced and supported by improved global transportation and communications; expanding cross-border flows of goods, services, capital and technology; expanding the growth of international travel; and rising numbers of international migrants.

As a small, open economy British Columbia has always depended on and prospered from its international connections. These linkages have been steadily enhanced and supported by improved global transportation and communications; expanding cross-border flows of goods, services, capital and technology; expanding the growth of international travel; and rising numbers of international migrants.

BC’s trade patterns have shifted over the past couple of decades. The rapid ascendance of China and strong growth in other emerging Asian economies have increased BC’s trade orientation to the Asia Pacific and greatly reduced our dependence on the US market. However, with the US economy now on a stronger growth trajectory and growth in emerging Asian economies slowing, BC’s export linkages are again becoming more North-South oriented.

BC’s export profile remains dominated by commodities and related downstream products, with the forest products sector still the province’s largest export engine. Advances in non-resource industries and strong gains in service exports, however, have led to much greater diversification of BC’s export base. This increased diversity makes BC’s economy much more resilient to commodity cycles and other economic fluctuations. Tourism is an important source of export earnings for the province and a sector that should see healthy growth through the remainder of this decade.

China has emerged as BC’s second largest export market, which is a position that will be further secured in the years ahead. Japan stands out as a market that is still important to BC, but one that has steadily contracted over the past couple of decades.