Alberta business, from a variety
of sectors, have new opportunities to collaborate, attract investment and
expand their access to international markets following Premier Notley’s 10-day
mission to Asia.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and
JOGMEC president Keisuke Kuroki shake hands after signing a Memorandum of
Understanding in Japan.
The Premier spent seven days in China and three in Japan,
meeting with government and industry leaders in a range of sectors, including:
energy, forestry, agriculture, clean technology, tourism, education, health
innovation and advanced technologies.
“A stable and resilient economy needs a diversity of products
and a diversity of markets. Asia is hungry for the world-class products and
services Alberta businesses offer. When we showcase Alberta abroad we create
new economic opportunities at home.”
Premier Rachel Notley
The Premier signed an agreement with the Japan Oil, Gas and
Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) to work together on scientific research
and technical components of oil and gas exploration, development and
As a Japanese crown corporation, JOGMEC invests in early-stage
resource exploration projects around the world. JOGMEC has invested $1 billion
in Canada and is heavily involved in Alberta’s energy sector. This includes
JOGMEC’s work to commercialize Super Critical Water Cracking technology as a
means to reduce emissions associated with oil sands upgrading in Alberta.
Premier Notley also announced renewed support for Alberta’s
forestry industry, including $300,000 to the Canada Wood Group to help Alberta
producers with access and regulatory issues in export markets and $300,000 to
the Alberta Forest Products Association to increase its international promotion
over the next three years.
That announcement followed a tour of the Mitsui Home Component
Plant which uses an Alberta-sourced, premium-grade lumber specific to Japan
called J-grade lumber, as well as other Alberta wood products used to
manufacture oriented strand board.
“Canada Wood is delighted to receive this support from the
Government of Alberta which will help accelerate market creation for Canadian
wood products in key Asian segments."
Paul Newman, director, Canada Wood Group, Asia
“It is more important now than ever that Alberta’s forest sector
diversify its markets. Support and expertise provided by Alberta’s foreign
offices will help grow our markets overseas, helping to secure stable futures
for the women and men who work in forestry and the communities that they live
Paul Whittaker, president and CEO, Alberta Forest Products
The Premier also participated in an energy and clean technology
seminar that included more than 200 energy and clean technology executives and
Japanese government representatives. Economic Development and Trade Minister
Deron Bilous, AltaGas and the Alberta Industrial Heartland Association also
presented at the roundtable.
Other activities included promoting Alberta to Japanese
executives in the medical, nanotechnology and information and communication
technology industries, and attending an event hosted by Canada’s Ambassador to
Japan, Ian Burney. Over 90 stakeholders attended the event, and the Alberta
delegation was welcomed by Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. Ltd. (JAPEX) CEO
Osamu Watanabe. JAPEX’s subsidiary, Japan Canada Oil Sands, will begin
production at its new Hangingstone SAGD operation this summer.
In addition to the Premier’s activities, Minister Bilous
facilitated a roundtable discussion to showcase Alberta beef and pork product
exports to Japan. As Alberta’s largest market for pork and third largest market
for beef, Japan imported $1.2 billion of agriculture and food products from
Alberta in 2016, one-third of Canada’s total. The minister also met with the
president of Costco Japan and toured a Costco facility. The wholesale retailer
has been a significant buyer and seller of Canadian and Alberta pork products.
On April 24, Premier Notley announced that Alberta and the
Chinese province of Guangdong had become sister provinces, prior to travelling
to Japan. Guangdong represents 25 per cent of China's total imports and exports
and is the largest recipient of foreign direct investment in China.
This was the Premier’s first trip to Asia and it built on
previous trips by Minister Bilous, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Oneil
Carlier and Energy Minister Margaret McCuaig-Boyd. In November 2016, Minister
Bilous led one of the largest ever missions to Asia, where he was joined by
more than 80 businesses and associations with ties to Alberta. Many of the
relationships formed on that trip are showing real results for Albertans today.
China and Japan are Alberta’s second- and third-largest trading
partners, respectively. The province’s trade with China has tripled since 2003,
while Japan represented 15.7 per cent of non-U.S. exports last year. In 2016,
Alberta’s two-way trade with China and Japan totaled more than $7.4 billion,
with potential for growth. Alberta is well positioned to meet the high demand for
energy resources, raw materials and quality commodities created by Asia’s
rapidly emerging urban middle class and modernizing economy.