People from all over the world attended the B.C. Natural Resources Forum this week, but the top ranking international diplomat was the provinces British consul general.
Rupert Potter made the event his second reason to visit Prince George since he became Great Britains lead business ambassador to the province less than a year ago.
The first was only three weeks ago, when Potter was hosted by Initiatives Prince George for a series of introductory meetings around the city.
Ive already learned some things, like what icing and lockout means, he jested, but he was also gathering serious business information on top of the cultural references.
I am here [in Prince George] for three big reasons, he told the conference delegates when chief organizer Pat Bell, local MLA and minister responsible for jobs and labour, brought him to the stage for an unscheduled speech. The first of these is just to listen and learn, because it has become quite clear to me [from my base in Vancouver] that a great deal of what is happening in British Columbia is happening in the north.The other two reasons are interconnected: trade and investment.
He invited companies to contact him if they had an interest in expanding themselves into Europe, or if an investor was looking for places to put money into new ventures. He had the connections and the mandate from the British government to facilitate these sorts of aspirations.
He also works in the reverse order, putting businesses and investors from the U.K. in touch with the B.C. ventures that could work. To do that most effectively, Potter said he wanted to know as much about the provincial offerings in technology, transportation, goods, services, and raw resource companies as possible.
The reasons for fostering business relations between England and B.C. were simple and clear, Potter said. Things like a mutually understood culture, a common language, plenty of past history of doing business already, a favourable tax structure both ways, and plenty of examples of collaborative business relationships already underway like the London-based petroleum companies investing billions into the northern B.C. and northern Alberta oil and gas industries.
Im starting to get the lay of the land, he said.
Anyone wishing to speak with the British consul general's office can call 604-683-4421 x2205 or email Rupert.Pot...@fco.gov.uk.