The City of Terrace’s plans for industrial development broadened Nov. 30 when it signed what’s called a “friendly exchange agreement” with representatives from Qinhuangdao, China.
Seven Qinghuangdao representatives plus a photographer arrived at the airport in the morning and were greeted by Terrace mayor Carol Leclerc and all six city councillors followed by a quick look at the large acreage at the Skeena Industrial Development Park purchased by an economic development entity within Qinghuangdao.
The group then went to city hall to sign the agreement where officials, through a translator, made speeches.
“It’s a good time for the northwest and Terrace for new partnerships,” said Leclerc to Zhiyong Feng, vice-mayor of Qinhuangdao Municipal Government, at city hall.
“We are very happy to share this day together and look forward to signing this agreement.”
Also at the ceremony were Kitselas chief councillor Joe Bevan and Sharon Bryant representing the Kitsumkalum First Nation.
A video showcasing Terrace and area with a voice speaking in Mandarin and captions in Mandarin was shown followed by a video about Qinhuangdao in English.
The video about Qinhuangdao, a port city of just over 800,000 people in Hebei province, said the sea has often served as a source of inspiration for the leaders of China.
And that the start of the Great Wall is on the beach at Qinhuangdao.
The city has negative ions in the air which are recognized as a guardian of health, continued the video, adding that it has forest coverage of 44 per cent.
Qinhuangdao bills itself as a promising place for development and connects China and the rest of the world.
Its trade spans to 130 countries and regions, it’s striving to build a community of economic development, and Qinhuangdao has 11 colleges and universities.
It’s expected to be a new resort hot spot and a zone of newly emerging modern service industries with 18 industrial parks.
It’s the Qinhuangdao Economic and Technological Development Zone, through a Burnaby-based investment company, which purchased 1,187 acres at the Skeena Industrial Development Zone last year and is now planning a series of industrial developments.
Fifty-seven regions and countries have set up businesses in Qinghuangdao, including General Electric from the US and South Korean liquefied natural gas interests.
After the videos, Feng spoke through a translator.
“My colleagues and I are very happy to be here,” he said.
“We are very appreciative that the mayor and all of council came to the airport to pick us up. We are very appreciative to every councillor here and the chiefs of the two First Nations.”
He noted that Qinhuangdao in Chinese means “island” even though it’s not an island.
“Qinhuangdao Economic [Economic and Technological Development] Zone is one of the first developments in China. I believe the twin city relationship will move forward, bring prosperity to B.C.”
In remarks afterward, Feng said the two cities may development exchanges in cultural, education and other fields.
“Today is a beautiful day outside which means we will have a prosperous future,” he said of the weather the day of the agreement signing.
The Chinese delegation left for the airport shortly afterward.
To date the Qinghuangdao development zone has plans to build a plant to extract protein from Prairie-grown alfalfa and export the commodity to China.
Below is the text of the agreement which was signed in both Mandarin and English by the mayor of Terrace and vice-mayor of Qinguangdao and dated Nov. 30, 2015.
In accordance to the Communique on Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the People’s Republic of China and Canada, in order to further improve the understanding and friendship between our cities, to promote the economic and trade exchanges and cooperation to benefit our two communities through friendly consultation on the basis of equality, the City of Qinhuangdao and the City of Terrace agree to establish a Friendly-Exchange Relationship, and conclude the agreement as follows:
1. In the spirit of equality and mutual benefit, the parties agree to cooperate and conduct regular exchanges and in the fields of economy and trade, science, education, culture, sports, and travel and visitation, to promote common prosperity and development.
2. The leaders and staff of the two cities shall keep in contact to discuss issues about cooperation and exchanges, and issues of common concern.
3. The City of Qinhuangdao shall welcome and provide guidance to visiting officials from the City of Terrace, and vice versa.
4. This agreement is signed in the City of Terrace on November 30, 2015 and will be effective upon signing.