FREDERICTON (GNB) – As a follow-up to the provincial government’s mission to China last fall, deputy premier Stephen Horsman will travel to China on May 8 as part of an economic and advocacy initiative.

He will promote New Brunswick’s softwood lumber industry in an effort to help businesses diversify. The province is also seeking to formalize twinning agreements with the jurisdictions of Guangxi and Hebei, which would be aimed at increasing trade and investment between these regions and New Brunswick.

“China is New Brunswick’s third-largest market, therefore enhancing trade with this country is an important priority for our government,” said Horsman. “I look forward to the opportunity to support some of our New Brunswick companies as they seek to expand their business in the Chinese market following the strong leads developed last fall during the premier’s mission.”

Horsman will also attend the Seoul Food and Hotel Expo where he will meet with business leaders. New trade agreements and tariff reductions in Korea provide opportunities for growth in the province’s $2 billion agri-food and seafood sectors. New Brunswick’s industry is expected to increase by five per cent annually through expansion and market diversification.

“More than 20,000 New Brunswickers work in the agriculture, seafood and food processing sectors,” said Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Rick Doucet. “Our producers have earned a reputation for quality products and these industries provide the economic fabric for many of our coastal communities. Seizing upon new opportunities in burgeoning markets such as China and South Korea is an important step in ensuring vitality and growth in the industry.”

The provincial government remains committed to building upon the increased opportunity that exists in these markets within the seafood and agri-food sectors in addition to education, health and tourism. These efforts are in support of the government’s economic growth and job creation objectives.