Redford off to China to drum up business

Alberta Premier Alison Redford will lead a delegation to China next month to drum up business in the Pacific Rim.

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Alison Redford will lead a delegation to China next month to drum up business in the Pacific Rim.

Redford is to be accompanied by members of 15 small businesses, three regional economic development associations and the presidents of the universities of Alberta and Calgary.

International Relations Minister Cal Dallas called it an opportunity to “drill down” for details on what small-sized businesses need to do to expand or get a foothold in Asia.

“The upside is enticing, engaging (and) creating success stories with the small and medium-sized businesses that have the kinds of products and services that are in demand in China,” Dallas said in an interview Wednesday.

Redford is to deliver keynote remarks at the Foreign Direct Investment Policy Forum in Beijing and attend the World Economic Forum in Dalian on Sept. 11 and 12.

She will travel to Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Dalian and Harbin.

Teresa Woo-Paw, associate minister for international relations, is going as well to meet officials and industry leaders in Korea, Japan and China.

The cost of the trip is pegged at almost $105,000.

The delegation is to leave Sept. 6.

It’s Redford’s third trip to China since becoming premier two years ago.

It is part of a concerted effort by her government to broaden Alberta’s influence in international markets.

In May, Dallas announced new trade offices would be set up in northern California, Chicago, Brazil, Singapore and India.

He also announced it would expand the current trade office in Beijing and establish a new trade office in China’s south.

The changes will bring the number of Alberta’s trade offices around the globe to 16.

Dallas said they are on track to set up the new offices within two years, and expect to have announcements on India, Singapore and Chicago in the fall.

“We continue to make incremental progress on getting these offices open,” said Dallas.

He said he could not elaborate yet on the exact location of the new south China office.

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

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

The annual budget for the trade offices is $10.5 million.

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