Un-Amer­i­can Ex­ports

Vir­tu­ally all en­ergy and fer­til­izer ex­ports go to the U.S. Not so for other cat­e­gories: Most agri-foods and al­most half of ad­vanced tech ex­ports, for in­stance, go else­where. If Al­berta wants to di­ver­sify its econ­omy, these sec­tors might be the ticket.

Alberta Venture - - The Briefing -

eco­nomic growth and move up the tech­no­log­i­cal curve. “If you want to make cheap toys in China now, they don’t want you,” Ku­tu­lakos says. “They’ll send you to Bangladesh or some­where else.” If, on the other hand, you’re mak­ing high-tech equip­ment that China needs or you can help China’s native com­pa­nies do that, then you’re much more wel­come. This would ap­ply to things like en­vi­ron­men­tal tech­nolo­gies and au­to­ma­tion.

In ad­di­tion to a grow­ing do­mes­tic mar­ket, China – and Chi­nese busi­nesses – are sit­ting on wads of cash. They’re buy­ing for­eign com­pa­nies, snap­ping up tech­nol­ogy, patents and ex­per­tise. Al­berta has seen by far the most Chi­nese in­vest­ment of any prov­ince, with 108 deals and $60 bil­lion in in­vest­ment since 2004. B.C. comes sec­ond, with $14.5 bil­lion. Most of the in­vest­ment in Al­berta ($58.5 bil­lion) has been in the en­ergy sec­tor, led by CNOOC’s ac­qui­si­tion of Nexen in 2013 for $15.1 bil­lion. But other sec­tors have re­ceived money, in­clud­ing the agri­cul­ture and food sec­tor which, in­clud­ing the Si­win deal, has seen $79 mil­lion in­vested. It’s worth not­ing that while 90 per cent of the in­vest­ments in en­ergy have been from Chi­nese state-owned en­ti­ties, all the in­vest­ment in agri­cul­ture and food has been pri­vate. “I al­ways say, in­stead of buy­ing that third house in Rich­mond, that $2 mil­lion can go a long way for a small­ish Cana­dian busi­ness,” Ku­tu­lakos says. “It cre­ates a cir­cle of fa­cil­i­tat­ing Cana­dian ex­ports via in­bound Chi­nese in­vest­ment.”

Which brings us back to Si­win Foods, a com­pany that has seen the in­vest­ment but is wait­ing to tap the Chi­nese mar­ket. The com­pany is work­ing with Agri­cul­ture and Agri- Food Canada’s Mar­ket Ac­cess Sec­re­tariat, which works to help Cana­dian ex­porters reach in­ter­na­tional mar­kets. “They need to get the meat reg­u­la­tory bod­ies in China to­gether and cre­ate some agree­ments,” De­Jong says, but he knows it will be slow go­ing. “The way the Mar­ket Ac­cess Sec­re­tariat op­er­ates is they work on wher­ever they get the most in­quiries for mar­ket ac­cess,” he says. “With what Justin Trudeau has been do­ing over the last cou­ple of months I would think China would be­come more im­por­tant, but I’m just not sure how they pri­or­i­tize their work­load.”

“Al­berta has sen by far the most Chi­nese in­vest­ment of any

prov­ince, with 108 deals and $60 bil­ion in in­vest­ment since 2004. B.C. comes sec­ond, with $14.5 bil­ion.”

The prov­ince ex­ported $62.5 bil­lion worth of oil and nat­u­ral gas in 2015, rep­re­sent­ing two-thirds of all ex­ports.

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