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Premier eyes China currency centre in B.C. 0

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

Premier Christy Clark discusses China currency in Vancouver Monday. (MICHAEL MUI/24 HOURS)

Premier Christy Clark discusses China currency in Vancouver Monday. (MICHAEL MUI/24 HOURS)

Premier Christy Clark has set her sights on having B.C. become the first North American international trade centre for China’s currency, the Renmenbi.

Clark made the announcement Monday at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum in downtown Vancouver as prominent members of the Chinese government and private enterprises were here to visit.

“We want to take that next step and become the first international trading centre for RMB in Canada right here in Vancouver,” she said, adding she expects aid from the head of the Agricultural Bank of China to make this happen.

International Trade Minister Teresa Wat said she managed to convince a delegation of 80 high-profile Chinese businesspeople to visit B.C.’s “friendly business environment” at the forum.

Clark promised that regulations would be kept to a “minimum” to promote business.

“Our goal is to have five new head offices from Asia here in Vancouver and establish those by 2020.”

But with the draw of international investment comes cases such as Ni Ritao — a businessman with B.C. ties currently in Chinese custody on allegations of corruption — and Steven Law, a man the Province newspaper reported is the son of one of the world’s most powerful heroin dealers.

He was here on a trade delegation hosted last month by Abbotsford MP Ed Fast.

Clark said it’s outside her jurisdiction to decide who should, and shouldn’t, be in B.C.

“That’s an issue for the federal government as the body responsible for immigration and to deal with governments off-shore,” she said.

“We don’t regulate the private sector from that perspective in British Columbia.”

 

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