Under Canada’s Global Markets Action Plan (GMAP), the government’s pro-export, pro-jobs plan, new markets around the world have been opened for Alberta exports. These historic trade achievements will benefit hard-working Canadians in Alberta and throughout Canada.
In just one year, the government has delivered on its GMAP commitment to eliminate tariffs and support Canadian companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and to boost exports, including through:
- the conclusion of negotiations and release of the complete text of the historic Canada-European Union trade agreement. The agreement will eliminate tariffs on virtually all of Alberta’s exports. On the first day of the agreement’s coming into force, almost 94 percent of EU agricultural tariff lines and 99 percent of tariffs on manufactured products will be duty-free. The agreement also establishes new quotas for Canadian exports of beef, pork and bison to the EU market and its 500 million consumers.
- the conclusion of Canada’s first free trade agreement in Asia with the landmark Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement (CKFTA), which will come into force on January 1, 2015. Alberta will see tremendous opportunities for export growth, given the complete elimination of South Korean duties on many Canadian products. From 2011 to 2013, Alberta’s agricultural exports to South Korea were worth an annual average of $195 million and faced tariffs averaging 52.7 percent. As of January 1, South Korean tariffs will be eliminated on all of Alberta’s main exports, including wheat, pork, canola oil, unroasted barley malt and tallow. Alberta will also benefit from the elimination of tariffs on beef, which is one of the biggest export interests for Alberta in the South Korean market.
Historic trade agreements require historic trade promotion, and under GMAP the Harper government is supporting workers and businesses in Alberta and ensuring that SMEs have all the necessary tools to seize new opportunities and realize their full export potential.
Key elements of the trade promotion efforts include:
Go Global Export Workshops
Over the next several months, the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, is holding workshops across Canada in collaboration with Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters and all the Government of Canada’s export support agencies. Under GMAP, the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, Export Development Canada, the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and the Canadian Commercial Corporation have been aligning their activities, facilitating referrals, sharing market intelligence and information, and providing a whole-of-government approach to boost SME exports. Over 300 SMEs participated in Go Global workshops in 2014.
Regional Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) Activities
In 2014, the TCS’s Prairies and Northwest Territories Regional Office assisted 446 SMEs, providing them with on-the-ground international business support, including 1,062 targeted services, and connecting them to new business opportunities.
Trade commissioners have been embedded with public and private sector partners across Canada—including, in the Prairies and Northwest Territories region, the Petroleum Services Association of Canada, Western Economic Diversification Canada, Manitoba Trade and Investment, the Canola Council of Canada, Industry Canada, Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership, BDC and Export Development Canada—so they can work closely with businesses to ensure the Government of Canada is responsive to their needs.
Export Development Canada (EDC)
EDC helped 370 Alberta companies finance or insure $11.1-billion worth of international sales and investments. For example, EDC bonded Sid Puddicombe Associates Ltd., a small family-owned business that specializes in golf course construction, so it could complete a championship golf course in Auckland, New Zealand.
Overall, EDC’s new outlook calls for Alberta exports to increase by 17 percent in 2014 and 5 percent in 2015.
Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC)
In 2013-14, CCC worked with specialized companies in Alberta, including Kenn Borek Air Ltd., on export opportunities abroad.
Attracting Job-Creating Investments in Alberta
Significant investments were made in Alberta in 2014 that created jobs and opportunities for Canadians.
Through the Invest Canada - Community Initiatives program, the Government of Canada provided a total of $580,075 to 14 Alberta communities or community organizations: Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association, Calgary Economic Development, City of Airdrie, Community Futures Alberta Southwest, Economic Developers Alberta, Economic Development Alliance of Southeast Alberta, Edmonton Economic Development Corporation, Leduc-Nisku Economic Development Association, Lloydminster Economic Development Corporation, Olds Institute for Community and Regional Development, Palliser Economic Partnership, Regional Economic Development Initiative Association for Northwest Alberta, Town of Drayton Valley and Village of Foremost.
As part of GMAP, the government attracts investment to Canada, benefiting hard-working Canadians and their families. In the 2013-14 fiscal year, the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) worked with provincial, territorial and municipal investment partners to facilitate 146 successful investment projects worth $3.65 billion and create over 5,500 new jobs within Canada.
Opening Markets and Supporting Alberta Businesses Abroad
In 2014, Minister Fast led 13 trade missions to 20 countries. Trade missions connect Canadian businesses, especially SMEs, with new opportunities to boost their exports, which creates jobs, growth and prosperity across all regions of Canada, including Alberta. Minister Fast was joined by representatives of 19 Alberta companies in total on several of these missions. On his trade mission to Africa in June, Minister Fast was joined by representatives of Alconsult International, Allied Container Systems, Canadian Geological Drilling Ltd. and Wentworth Gas.
During his trade mission to China in November, Minister Fast was joined by representatives of three Alberta companies: Airborne International Holdings Corp, Polar Genetics Inc., and Sunora Foods Inc. While in China, the Minister witnessed the signing of an agriculture-related memorandum of understanding between the University of Alberta and Northwest University in Xi’an, as well as an energy education-related memorandum of understanding with Xi’an Jiaotong University. He also witnessed the signing of an investment agreement worth over $25 million between Airborne China Limited, a subsidiary of Alberta-based Airborne International Holdings Corp, and Heilongjiang InterChina Water Treatment Co. Ltd. toward long-term cooperation on reducing air pollution in China. Under the deal, Airborne China Limited will provide sulfur dioxide, sulfur trioxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter and mercury reduction throughout China.
Through its Petro-Canada Lubricants business, Alberta-based Suncor Energy Inc. recently opened an office in Guangzhou, its second in China.
Innovative companies from Alberta can also count on the support of the Canadian Technology Accelerator (CTA) program. Nineteen companies from Alberta have recently participated in CTA programs, including nine in 2013-14 and 10 in 2014-15. These include dynamic companies such as Strata Health Solutions Inc., currently participating in the CTA in France, and Wedge Networks, which participated in the CTA in India.
Minister Fast encouraged Alberta-based businesses to take advantage of the Enterprise Canada Network. Provided in partnership with EDC and Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, this network provides online access to more than 30,000 business profiles and information on opportunities in the European market to help Canadian companies take full advantage of the historic Canada-EU trade agreement.
Under GMAP, the Harper government committed to developing comprehensive strategies in key sectors. Strategies released this year that support Alberta businesses include the International Education, the Extractive Sector and the Corporate Social Responsibility strategies, and an export-oriented Defence Procurement Strategy.
Minister Fast invited businesses in Alberta to accompany him on his first trade mission of 2015. This trade mission to South Korea, which will take place from February 8 to 13, will enable businesses to take full advantage of the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement and benefit from the on-the-ground support from the Government of Canada.
“This year, 2014, has been the most successful year for international trade in Canadian history, benefiting hard-working Canadians in Alberta and in every region of the country. Under Canada’s Global Markets Action Plan, we will continue our vigorous trade promotion efforts to boost our exports.”
“In 2015, we will continue to focus on the real priorities of hard-working Canadians: creating new jobs and prosperity.”
- Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade
Quotes from Alberta Stakeholders
“The trade mission was an important part of establishing the baseline business environment that our company will use to qualify opportunities and evaluate partners and investment opportunities as we seek markets in Colombia and Peru. Minister Fast and his staff put on a first-rate program.”
- Gordon Harrison, Training and Exercise Manager, C4i Consultants Inc.
“The new government and optimism it brings in India is a generational change for the country. Canadian multinational companies and small and medium-sized companies can now get a seat at the table by partnering with the open innovation and P3 [public-private partnership] model being adopted in India in the health care, agriculture, infrastructure and resources sectors.”
- Aubrey Mendonca, CEO, ChemRoutes Corporation
Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)
“The EU leads the way in innovative product launches that incorporate pulses in products such as pasta and baked goods, enabling consumers to improve health and sustainability without changing their diets. From bean growers in Ontario to pea growers in Alberta, this trade agreement opens the door for pulse farmers across the country.”
- Nick Sekulic, Chair, Pulse Canada
“Alberta’s barley farmers are excited about CETA and what it means for our future. This historic deal gives us a chance to open more doors and grow our exports to the European market. In Canada, we are fortunate to produce more than we need to feed our country, and our farmers rely on exports to be profitable. CETA will help us to reach over 500 million consumers in the EU, which is huge news for us.”
- Matt Sawyer, former chairman, Alberta Barley
“This trade agreement, which will reduce wheat tariffs to zero over a seven-year period, means expanded market opportunities for Canadian wheat. The Alberta Wheat Commission applauds the federal government for finalizing this trade agreement, as greater access to a steady and reliable market like the EU is positive for Alberta producers and will help boost exports in the agriculture sector.”
- Kent Erickson, Chair, Alberta Wheat Commission
“Canada exports $40 billion a year in agriculture and food products, with $2.4 billion of that being sold to the EU. This new trade agreement could see an increase of $1.5 billion in Canadian agri-products being sold overseas, which means more money in the pockets of Alberta’s wheat producers.”
- Doug Cornell, former general manager, Alberta Wheat Commission
Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement
“Alberta canola producers applaud the federal government for concluding the free trade agreement with South Korea. This agreement will level the playing field for Canadian canola to enter an important export market.”
- Colin Felstad, Chairman, Alberta Canola Producers Commission
“Although South Korea lifted its BSE [bovine spongiform encephalopathy] restrictions on Canadian beef in 2012, the U.S.-Korea FTA was implemented that year and effectively prevented Canadian beef from fully capitalizing on the important South Korean market. This agreement will restore our ability to ship significant volumes of beef to South Korea, which adds value to every animal processed here in Alberta.”
- Greg Bowie, Chair, Alberta Beef Producers
“The Canada-South Korea Free Trade agreement is good news for Alberta’s barley farmers, as the anticipated increase in demand for beef and pork exports will mean greater demand for feed barley. As demand for our exports grows, so too does the profitability for our local farmers. This agreement is the next step toward achieving a more secure agricultural future for barely farmers.”
- Matt Sawyer, former chairman, Alberta Barley
Canadian Technology Accelerator (CTA) Program
“From the onset of the program, the Trade Commissioner and their staff laid out a comprehensive and well-laid-out plan from A to Z on how to properly and effectively enter the burgeoning Indian marketplace, from the in-person sessions and weekly webinars to the fruition of the on-the-ground visits in the three major hubs of technology and business. The meetings placed us in front of the key industry leaders and decision makers in a high-level government-to-business setting that most likely saved us two years in legwork and screening had we attempted to enter the market directly ourselves. The trade commissioners through the CTA program enabled us to safely expedite our company’s exposure and our direct contact with the specific industry leaders in a market that we would most likely have not considered entering due to the complexity and diversity of the Indian market.”
– Hussein Amery, Vice President of Business Development, Wedge Networks