IPP&T Magazine Online

Trade missions boost business by more than $500M

December 22, 2017   Don Horne

A proactive approach to attracting business to Alberta in 2017 is producing results, to the tune of half a billion dollars.

According to a statement from the Alberta Economic Development and Trade, ministerial missions and delegations attracted $502 million in new economic opportunities for the province in 2017.

“Alberta businesses are attracting international attention – and bringing home more than half a billion dollars from trade and investment this year,” states Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade. “Showcasing Alberta businesses abroad means new economic opportunities in our province. That’s why we are increasing access to our trade offices, leading more trade missions and providing businesses funding to cover the upfront costs of breaking into new markets.”

From April to November 2017, Economic Development and Trade led five ministerial missions and 49 business delegations with nearly 400 local companies. While the missions will have additional impact in the new year, companies have reported at least $502,066,700 in actual trade and investment since April 2017, contributing to a dramatic increase in trade this year.


In the first 10 months of 2017 Alberta exports were $82.7 billion, up from $63.1 billion during the same period last year. The 31 per cent increase accounted for 64 per cent of Canada’s entire trade increase during that time.

Alberta international missions included bringing hundreds of Alberta businesses to global industry trade shows where they met with hundreds more potential international buyers and investors, facilitating a variety of direct business-to-business meetings, supporting business owners as they gather market information in new countries, and government-to-government meetings to strengthen cooperation to increase trade.

“The Alberta mission to ADIPEC (Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference) gave General Magnetic a low-cost, high-impact market introduction that we could not have achieved on our own,” says Al Duerr, CEO of General Magnetic International Inc. “Support with logistics, meetings and facilities were invaluable. We are already scheduled to return in January, a few short months later, to follow up on real opportunities.”

Results included new product and service sales and contracts, increased market access through memoranda of understanding and sister-province relationships, business-to-business partnerships and agreements to collaborate.

“This fall’s trade mission to the Gulf Cooperation Council region and ADIPEC opened many doors to our target market in the region,” says Randy Hansen of Headwater Engineering. “They introduced us to business opportunities that otherwise would have been missed. We would not have had the success achieved in this length of time without the well-planned support and insight of these highly informed, hard-working teams.”

The value of trade missions goes beyond trade dollars attracted, says Garret Matteotti of the Alberta Industrial Heartland Association, as a coordinated effort by government and industry to seek international trade deals demonstrates to the world that Alberta is open for business.

“This approach provides a high level of comfort to foreign investors that translates into marketplace confidence here at home,” says Matteotti. “As an economic development agency, Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association benefits greatly from these missions, enhancing our ability to connect government-to-government and show international executives that the Alberta government is aligned with industry in creating an attractive investment environment.”

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