Between the plethora of non-stop flights to Asia and the millions of tonnes of cargo passing through the Port of Vancouver, there’s “no question” British Columbians prioritize trade with Asia over Latin America, according to Nicolas Lloreda.
Colombia’s ambassador to Canada believes, however, the Pacific Alliance – a trading bloc made up of Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru – is shifting that focus from east to south.
“Those four countries have their own trade agreement, which pretty much makes them a common market,” Lloreda told Business in Vancouver, while visiting the city in mid-October.
“We are getting more and more Canadian companies that are starting to use Colombia as a hub. They like the facility to do business, and they like the business culture and they appreciate the geographic location, which makes it ideal for them.”
Canada, which has free trade agreements with each of the alliance members, became the first non-Latin American country in 2012 to observe the trading bloc.
By 2015, Canada’s trade with the Pacific Alliance totalled $46.2 billion, while direct investment abroad totalled $42.4 billion.
But aside from mostly mining interests from some B.C. firms, Lloreda acknowledged most of that investment is coming from Central and Atlantic Canada.
Measured by metric tonnes of cargo, Asian countries, including Japan, South Korea, India and Taiwan, accounted for six of the top 10 trading partners at the Port of Vancouver in 2015, according to the port authority’s annual financial report.
No. 1 ranked China accounted for more than 30 million tonnes of cargo unloaded at the port compared with No. 6 Chile (3.6 million tonnes) or No. 10 Mexico (1.8 million tonnes).
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