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GenTex chief heads export group

A Red Deer businessman has been chosen to head a group that will suggest ways for the provincial government to support Alberta exporters.

Garett Cupples, president of GenTex Oilfield Manufacturing Inc., will chair the province’s new Small- and Medium-sized Enterprise Export Council.

He was appointed by Alberta International and Intergovernmental Relations Minister Cal Dallas earlier this year.

“This is a great opportunity,” said Cupples, whose company exports oilfield equipment around the world.

The province announced a new international strategy this spring, including the creation of an industry-driven export council to help Alberta companies diversify their markets.

Cupples applauded this move, explaining that export businesses are in the best position to suggest changes.

“A lot of times we’re the boots on the ground; we’ve been in the mud and we know what the issues are.”

Although other members of the council have yet to be named, with Dallas saying this week that he’s close to finalizing the list, Cupples said it will consist of representatives from both small- and medium-sized businesses that export.

“The company that’s exporting that has eight employees usually has different hurdles than the company that has 200 employees,” he explained.

Companies across the province and from a variety of sectors, will be represented, he added.

“We don’t have all oil and gas companies at the table on this council, because Alberta’s more than just oil and gas.”

Cupples hopes his group will hold its first meeting by spring. Ultimately, it will prepare a list of recommendations for Dallas and his department.

He said Alberta exporters deal with a variety of hurdles, including cultural barriers, trade issues, shipping problems and difficulty financing foreign operations.

The provincial government might be able to help address these challenges through such measures as the strategic location of trade offices.

Cupples praised the province for its recent efforts to promote foreign trade, including development of its international strategy, and trade missions by Dallas and Premier Alison Redford.

“We’re an exporting province; we’re an exporting country,” he said, stressing the importance of building new trade relations, rather than relying on the United States.

“The more we can offset that by doing trade with other countries, the greater the province’s success.”

hrichards@reddeeradvocate.com

 
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