Swift Cur­rent MLA feel­ing up­beat about trade trip to China with Pre­mier

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - Swift Current - BY MATTHEW LIEBENBERG— mlieben­berg@prairiepost.com

Swift Cur­rent MLA Everett Hind­ley ac­com­pa­nied Pre­mier Scott Moe on a trade mis­sion to China to pro­mote trade re­la­tions with one of Saskatchewan's largest trad­ing part­ners.

The Saskatchewan del­e­ga­tion de­parted on Sept. 15 on the week-long mis­sion. It in­cluded more than 20 busi­ness rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Saskatchewan Trade and Ex­port Part­ner­ship (STEP).

The goal of the mis­sion was to ex­plore trade op­por­tu­ni­ties that will in­crease mar­ket ac­cess for Saskatchewan ex­ports to China, to pro­mote in­vest­ment in Saskatchewan and to highlight the prov­ince's tech­ni­cal know-how in car­bon cap­ture and stor­age.

“Saskatchewan is one of the most trade ori­ented prov­inces in Canada and China is ac­tu­ally our se­cond largest ex­port mar­ket,” Hind­ley said. “We ex­port about 70 per cent of ev­ery­thing we pro­duce and al­most 14,000 jobs in Saskatchewan rely di­rectly on ex­ports to China. So this is pretty crit­i­cal for us to go to China. We had a busy week of meet­ings and func­tions, both in Bei­jing and in Harbin, and I think we're well sit­u­ated right now.”

The United States is Saskatchewan's top trad­ing part­ner, fol­lowed by China and In­dia. Saskatchewan ex­ported over $3.5 bil­lion in goods to China in 2017 and ex­ports have grown by 33 per cent since 2013.

The agri-food sec­tor is a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of Saskatchewan's ex­ports to China, and it was re­spon­si­ble for $2.8 bil­lion in sales in 2017. China has in­vested more than $1 bil­lion in Saskatchewan dur­ing the past 10 years.

Hind­ley noted that it is im­por­tant for Saskatchewan to fo­cus on trade re­la­tions with China and In­dia due to their grow­ing economies.

“China's pop­u­la­tion is grow­ing, there's 1.4 bil­lion peo­ple there, and they've got a lim­ited amount of arable land to pro­duce their own crops,” he said.

Hind­ley was ap­pointed in May as the leg­isla­tive sec­re­tary to the min­is­ter of trade and ex­port de­vel­op­ment. This was his third trip to China. His pre­vi­ous two trips in 2012 and 2016 took place when he was the ex­ec­u­tive as­sis­tant to Saskatchewan's former pre­mier, Brad Wall.

“It does give me a bit of in­sight, hav­ing been there a cou­ple of times pre­vi­ously,” Hind­ley said. “We met with some new com­pa­nies that we hadn't be­fore and other ones that we had. I was in a dif­fer­ent ca­pac­ity and a dif­fer­ent role be­fore, but this is a chance for me to get a bit more in­volved di­rectly on this file as the MLA for Swift Cur­rent and as the leg­isla­tive sec­re­tary for trade and ex­port de­vel­op­ment. So I think it was some­what help­ful and I hope I was able to pro­vide the pre­mier with some in­sight and some as­sis­tance on this par­tic­u­lar trip and I'm look­ing for­ward to do­ing so on fu­ture trade mis­sions.”

Pre­mier Moe had 17 meet­ings with gov­ern­ment, in­dus­try, and busi­ness lead­ers dur­ing the trip. He de­liv­ered a key­note ad­dress at a STEP-China Canada Busi­ness Coun­cil lun­cheon, and he at­tended a harvest field day in Hei­longjian prov­ince, where he made a speech about the link be­tween potash and im­proved crop yields for Chi­nese farm­ers. “We re­ceived a very good reception while we were out there,” Hind­ley said about the trip. “We had a busy schedule of meet­ings and func­tions for us to par­tic­i­pate in. ... While we were there, some of the ad­di­tional tar­iffs from the United States on China were an­nounced. So we would go into meet­ings and ob­vi­ously that would come up and it was for­tu­nate for us, be­cause that al­lowed us to pro­mote our prov­ince and our coun­try as a safe and re­li­able trad­ing part­ner.” Some of the dis­cus­sions dur­ing the trip fo­cused on en­ergy re­lated is­sues. Pre­mier Moe pro­moted the ex­port of Cana­dian ura­nium as a safe and sus­tain­able source of en­ergy, and he de­liv­ered a key­note ad­dress at the 2018 Car­bon Cap­ture Uti­liza­tion and Stor­age Fo­rum at the China Univer­sity of Petroleum in Bei­jing. Hind­ley feels there is po­ten­tial for co­op­er­a­tion be­tween Saskatchewan and China on the use of car­bon cap­ture and stor­age tech­nol­ogy. “China is one of the lead­ers when it comes to in­vest­ing in clean coal tech­nol­ogy,” Hind­ley said. “They have a large num­ber of coal-fired power plants and they have some chal­lenges as well when it comes to what they're go­ing to do with re­gards to emis­sions.” He noted that car­bon cap­ture ex­per­tise has been de­vel­oped in Saskatchewan through SaskPower's Bound­ary Dam 3 car­bon cap­ture fa­cil­ity and the work of the In­ter­na­tional CCS Knowl­edge Cen­tre in Regina, which is an ac­tive part­ner in China. “It is some­thing that I think that China is def­i­nitely in­ter­ested in, in terms of the tech­nol­ogy and the pos­si­bil­i­ties that are on the hori­zon,” he said. An im­por­tant part of this trade mis­sion to China is the fol­low-up that will be done af­ter­wards to take ac­tion with re­gard to is­sues that were dis­cussed dur­ing meet­ings. “The worst thing you can do is come back from spend­ing a week in a mar­ket like China and then not fol­low up the leads that you've been given,” he said. “So hav­ing a chance to be in China for a week and meet­ing one on one with these com­pa­nies and with mem­bers from the gov­ern­ment, we get a lot of ques­tions and op­por­tu­ni­ties posed to us and we need to make sure we do fol­low up on those. There is go­ing to be some sub­stan­tial fol­low-up with the groups and or­ga­ni­za­tions that we met with in China to try and help fos­ter some ad­di­tional re­la­tion­ships here and maybe close some deals, be­cause what's im­por­tant at the end of the day is to make sure that we can work to pro­mote Saskatchewan's in­ter­est and the in­ter­est of our peo­ple.”

Photo cour­tesy of Gov­ern­ment of Saskatchewan

Pre­mier Scott Moe (at left) and Swift Cur­rent MLA Everett Hind­ley met with Bei­jing Agri­cul­ture Pro­duc­tion Group. The com­pany is a large im­porter of potash from Saskatchewan. Be­hind them are bags with the Cana­dian maple leaf.

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