Representatives from the Province of B.C. discuss items with Southeast Asian economic leaders in the leadup to a new trade and investment office being opened by the province in Johor Bahru

B.C. trade office scheduled to be opened in Malaysia

The Province of B.C will be able to closely monitor how, if or when the investors behind the PNW LNG project will make their FID

The Province of B.C will be able to closely monitor how, if or when the investors behind the Pacific NorthWest LNG project on Lelu Island will make their final investment decision.

A new trade office is scheduled to open up early next year in Johor Bahru, Malaysia by the province. The office is being labelled as a Trade and Investment Representative Office and its purpose is to develop and find trade opportunities in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) economy.

The opening of the office follows the visit by B.C. Finance Minister Michael de Jong to Johor Bahru from Nov. 1 – 3, where he met with Sultan Ibrahim and the Johor State Cabinet.

On the agenda for de Jong were opportunities related to the Pacific NorthWest LNG (PNW LNG) project, with majority owner Petronas based in Malaysia, and topics in the aviation, aerospace and finance sectors.

B.C. has already opened trade offices in Manila, Philippines and Indonesia and 10 more around the world in Japan, South Korea, India, China, Europe and the U.S.

“British Columbia has a strong appreciation for Malaysia’s status as an economic powerhouse within the ASEAN region,” de Jong said in a statement.

“A B.C. trade and investment representative office strategically located in Johor, a fast-growing region of Malaysia that also happens to be situated adjacent to Singapore, a global commercial and financial hub, will play a key role in fostering those ties.”

Premier Christy Clark visited Malaysia previously in 2014 to promote the province’s LNG industrial activity potential and in April 2015 Port Edward Mayor Dave MacDonald, Coun. Grant Moore and Chief Administrative Officer Bob Payette also visited the country at the invitation of Petronas, which gave the visitors a structured tour of an LNG facility, which impressed the delegation through its safety record and professionalism.

“They didn’t need to try and butter us up,” Moore noted last year, adding that an agreement-in-principle had already been signed between the company and Port Edward over municipal property taxation.

Minister of International Trade Teresa Wat added that “by having a trade presence in Indonesia and Malaysia, we are providing B.C. companies with access to on-the-ground experts who can help them succeed in both emerging markets.” An Indonesian office was opened in July.

“Helping B.C. companies build relationships with key partners in the ASEAN will generate new business opportunities, increase exports and attract investment in key sectors, which helps create jobs at home in B.C.,” Wat said.

Pacific NorthWest LNG and Petronas provided no comment on the new Malaysia office when reached by the Northern View as representatives stated the office does not directly relate to the project, but more to trade in general in the area.