Alberta announces major expansion of trade offices

CALGARY — The Alberta government is expanding or opening trade offices on three continents to open up markets and reduce dependence on markets in the United States.

CALGARY — The Alberta government is expanding or opening trade offices on three continents to open up markets and reduce dependence on markets in the United States.

“We can no longer rely primarily on one customer for our resources, goods and services (exports),” Cal Dallas, the international and intergovernmental relations minister, announced at the University of Calgary on Friday.

“Eighty-six per cent of those resources went to one customer, the U.S.”

Dallas and Premier Alison Redford announced new foreign trade offices in California, Chicago, Brazil, Singapore and India.

It will also expand the current trade office in Beijing, co-locate its Shanghai office with the federal government, and establish a new office in the southern region of the country.

There is already an office in Hong Kong.

The offices, which will bring the total to 16, are to open over the next two years.

Alberta already has trade offices in London, Mexico City, Taipei, Tokyo, Munich, Washington, D.C., and Seoul.

Dallas said his department is reallocating some resources so that the new offices will only add $1.3 million a year to the current annual foreign office budget of $10.5 million.

Redford said the payoff will be long term.

“Markets do not get built overnight,” she said.

“You build trust, you build relationships, and you ensure that the products that you are exporting are products that are actually going to be acceptable to the market.

“Not doing this would be quite disadvantageous to the province.”

The opposition NDP has said such offices are poor value for money in a province that is already cutting funding to social programs and post-secondary education.

They call the trade offices little more than patronage rewards for supporters of Redford’s Progressive Conservative party.

Dallas has said there will be an open competition to select the representatives.

Dallas said the offices will have different mandates.

The California office, expected to be located around San Francisco, will build up links with the high-tech and computer industries around Silicon Valley.

Singapore, said Dallas, is a critical port for oil refining and a hub for Asian commerce.

He said there are broad opportunities in agriculture, energy and education through the office in New Delhi.

He called Chicago a key U.S. transportation hub, and said the Brazil office will take advantage of South American energy and agriculture growth.

In 2012, Alberta exported $95 billion worth of goods to 187 countries, accounting for more than one-third of the province’s GDP.

The government says in 2012, more than 640 Alberta companies worked through the province to broaden trade and investment abroad.

Just Posted

Alberta investing $3.7B to move oil by rail, leasing cars

EDMONTON — The Alberta government says it’s investing $3.7 billion to move… Continue reading

Red Deer College introduces safety app

Safe RDC provides reliabilty and speed

Alberta farmers await Saskatchewan court decision on carbon tax

Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association applaud Saskatchewan government

Halifax fire claims seven Syrian refugee children: ‘Our entire municipality is heartbroken’

HALIFAX — Seven children, all members of a Syrian refugee family, died… Continue reading

Pro-pipeline protest convoy reaches Ottawa after rolling across country

OTTAWA — A convoy of angry Albertans and other westerners rolled up… Continue reading

Historic win for Team Nunavut at Canada Winter Games

Four years in the making boiled down to a collection of firsts… Continue reading

Millennial Money: Make your funds move at the speed of life

Change is constant — especially when you’re young. Chances are you’ll cycle… Continue reading

TSB says improved tankers involved in Manitoba derailment that spilled crude

ST. LAZARE, Man. — Federal investigators say CN rail cars that spilled… Continue reading

Vancouver duo faced health scare while making Oscar-nominated ‘Animal Behaviour’

TORONTO — Husband-and-wife filmmakers Alison Snowden and David Fine had almost finished… Continue reading

Canadian Eugenie Bouchard drops second-round match against Simona Halep

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard is out of the… Continue reading

Chanel: Iconic couturier Karl Lagerfeld dies in Paris

PARIS — Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel’s iconic couturier whose designs had an unprecedented… Continue reading

Canadian women beat US 2-0 to win inaugural Rivalry Series

DETROIT — The inaugural Rivalry Series was created to give Canada and… Continue reading

Don Cherry blasts Hurricanes as ‘jerks’; team responds with his words on T-shirt

TORONTO — Don Cherry’s latest rant about the Carolina Hurricanes and their… Continue reading

Country star Miranda Lambert reveals secret marriage

NASHVILLE — Country star Miranda Lambert celebrated Valentine’s Day weekend with the… Continue reading

Most Read