A massive logistics facility in Surrey officially opened last month, paving the way for more trade between British Columbia and China.
The Vancouver Logistics Park, which opened on July 28, was originally dubbed the “World Commodity Trade Center” and was billed as a massive $190 million, 470,000 square foot complex.
Today, the sprawling import-export facility is only about 80,000 square feet, as only the first of three phases is complete.
The business park, first conceived in Beijing, was to have four warehouses and two large exhibition halls – to be lined with Chinese and Canadian flags, although the final version appears to have been modified and is without flags and with the new name. It is not known what the final size of the complex will be.
The business park is believed to be one of several non-Chinese import-export facilities serving a central commodity hub on the outskirts of Beijing, called Yanjiao International Trade City. It is developed by World Commerce Valley, a division of Hong Kong-based trading company Shing Kee Godown Group.
The local industrial park was developed by North America Commerce Valley, a subsidiary of World Commerce Valley.
What is the Belt and Road Initiative?
When the land opened in 2018, the facility followed a groundbreaking Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between then-Prime Minister Christy Clark and former British Columbia’s Commerce Minister, the British Columbia government, Teresa Wat, and the Chinese province of Guangdong – the province thus became the only North American jurisdiction to sanction the British Columbia’s global foreign investment initiative. China.
The Belt and Road Initiative is a concept attributed to Chinese President Xi Jinping, which aims to form a global trade network similar to the Silk Road initiatives.
In June, US President Joe Biden and other democratic nations committed to a $600 billion plan to counter these investments, which are largely taking place in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa. .
The National Post reported June 29 that it is “unclear” whether Canada will commit to the plan.
A mutually beneficial industrial park for both countries, according to the consul general
According to Dawa News, Tong Xiaoling, the consul general of the People’s Republic of China in Vancouver, has touted how the warehouses could help expand trade between the two countries and, therefore, ease the cost of living for residents. of British Columbia.
The warehouses could be instrumental in shipping Canadian food and other resources to the Chinese, but raised national security concerns given the direct involvement of the Chinese Communist Party.
BC Commerce Minister George Chow, who was present at the opening, also spoke about the potential benefits of the industrial park, according to Dawa News.
Chow did not respond to Glacier Media’s request for comment.
BC’s NDP government let the BRI MOU expire in May 2021 and also did not respond to Glacier Media’s request for comment on whether it still supports the initiative.
Ceremony dubbed ‘Warehouse Logistics Alliance’
The ceremony, dubbed the “Warehouse Logistics Alliance”, would aim to promote resource sharing and “expand the coverage of the logistics network”, according to Liu Hong, chairman of the Chinese Council for the Promotion of International Trade, China. Department of Commerce.
Canada’s International Business Development Corporation appeared to help organize the alliance.
The ceremony was attended by many representatives from a number of organizations, such as the Vancouver Chinese Benevolent Association, Canadian Community Service Association, Federation of Guangdong Associations of Canada, Canadian Association for Cultural Research Hehe and the Cultural and Creative Industries Foundation of Canada.
Also present at the opening ceremony was Wei Renmin, president of the Canadian Alliance of Chinese Associations – a Richmond-based umbrella group sanctioned by the Office of Overseas Chinese Affairs.
The China Affairs Bureau is a Beijing-based entity within the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front Work Department that promotes China’s interests overseas and collects intelligence on overseas Chinese nationals and Canadians of Chinese origin.
Trade representatives present at the ceremony included COSCO Shipping, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Xiamen Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Shunfeng Express Canada and Manna Industrial Property.