Canada and the United States will gain more from the trade opportunities with China and other developing countries if they co-operate, says Alberta International and Intergovernmental Relations Minister Cal Dallas.
Dallas, who is the MLA for Red Deer South, said this was the theme of a Canadian American Business Council forum in Washington, D.C. that he presented at on Thursday. He described how Canada and the U.S. are competing against the rest of the world when it comes to Chinese investment and sales, and can both achieve more if they work together.
“We talk a lot about how Alberta can open up new relationships and be more effective trading into China and attracting investment back, but we haven’t spent a lot of time talking with our largest trading partner about what the opportunities are to work together as we do that.”
For instance, said Dallas, many manufacturing companies have operations on both sides of the border and routinely move materials and components back and forth. By ensuring transportation systems function effectively and border policies are efficient, their ability to compete internationally is improved.
At Thursday’s forum, Dallas was among a number of speakers and panelists that included American senators and John Manley, president and CEO of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and a former deputy prime minister in Jean Chrétien’s Liberal government.
Dallas, who followed Manley at the podium, stressed the opportunities that are available.
“We have the world’s greatest bilateral trade arrangement, with the United States. For both the United States and Canada — and specifically Alberta — our fastest-growing trade relationship is with China.”
The audience included politicians and industry leaders.
Dallas later met with two U.S. senators, as well as staff from the Alberta Washington office and the Canadian embassy.
“If you want to have a conversation about Alberta with elected representatives there, you’re going to be talking about the oilsands,” he noted.
Dallas said he welcomes the opportunity to discuss petroleum development in Alberta, and how it furthers American interests with respect to energy security, economic spin-offs and sustainability.