Rachel Notley leaves for trade mission to China, Japan

Alberta NDP tops fundraising in first quarter of 2017

Premier Rachel Notley and an Alberta delegation fly to Beijing Monday as they embark on a 10-day trip to China and Japan to strengthen Alberta's trade ties in the region.

Among those joining the Alberta group for part of the trip is Gordon Houlden, director of the China Institute at the University of Alberta.

He says because Alberta is so trade-dependent on the U.S., it's important for the government to do what it can to stimulate trade with China.

"The potential is so much larger. They're the second largest economy and depending on how you count the numbers, they're either number one or very close," he said.

"So I think it's a bit like having one stock in your portfolio — the United States — it's a great stock to own — I'm speaking figuratively here — but if you only have one, you're going to have tremendous volatility."

Houlden says the oilsands, agriculture and green energy technology are key areas where Alberta could do more business with China.

Houlden says it's important for political leaders to make these trips.

"If too many years go by or if you've been the premier for let's say three or four years and you haven't bothered to visit your number two trading partner, that sends the wrong message," he said.  

"But I think there's also … missionary work to be done. It would be nice to have some diversification. We do have some very good green technology, as do they, and there's perhaps a two-way trade there that could be done."

Calgary Economic Development president Mary Moran, who is also on the trade trip, says there are prospective trade and investment deals to be made, and her organization will follow up on the trade mission in another month to see what fruit it bears.

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