A small but scrappy province goes global

Where does that smart phone come from anyway?

If you take the traditional view of trade, it’s all a no-brainer. Countries produce goods and services, and they are exported abroad. In today’s global economy, only 30 per cent of all goods and services are exported that way. As the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) points out, most transactions are through global value chains (GVCS). And that means raw materials and parts and components are crossing borders many times.

So yes, where does that smart phone come from? It might be assembled in Vietnam, but in terms of value-added it probably comes from six or seven countries. But those value-added chains are changing every day. Vast international hubs all interconnected and moving at unprecedented speed.

For Saskatchewan business, there is no more slam dunk with traditional trade partners. The United States can be moody and unreliable, unlike the good old days. Saskatchewan business is looking farther afield. There is more risk uncertainty, but the opportunities are endless. The Ministry of Trade and Export Development (TED) decided to flip the script on the old world and headed to some of the most heavily populated, strongest economies on earth.

Mark Cooper, president and CEO of Prairie Clean Energy called them “an amazing resource for Saskatchewan business,” in a recent interview. His company sells over 60 million+ tons of biomass created from prairie agricultural waste, a clean and sustainable energy source in generating power. “We are lucky the government has invested the time and the energy in their creation. They are entirely invaluable. In fact, they have become extensions of our own teams. We have developed real friendships with those we have engaged with.”

And our voice is heard in all corners of the world. Saskatchewan is small, but scrappy. Sustainable, innovative, and with a predictable, transparent regulatory environment that is a major attraction for investors. Yes, we might be small in numbers, but we are a province with 40 per cent of Canada’s farmland and the highest per capita exporter amongst all Canadian provinces. Over half of our GDP dependent on exports and we have government determined to double them by 2030.

Ask yourself. Where are the opportunities for what I produce and how can I access them. A virtual chat with support staff abroad will quickly give you the focus you need.

Specificity may be the key word here. This is especially true for small to medium sized businesses. The trade offices can match your special product levels and then help bring what you do best to the world.

But first, the office will give you and experienced opinion on whether you are export ready. Greg Eidness in Singapore, Ha Nguyen in Vietnam along with Horacio Cuevas in Mexico City and David Anderson in Japan will ask you about your crop rotation and planting requirements, among many others. These offices are all strategically located in Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Trade (CPTT) countries—an enormous free trade agreement and an engine for trade diversification.

The UK needs food and energy security. There’s a war going on in her backyard. The traditional supply lines in the European hub are in turmoil. London’s Ranissah Samah will show you how to bring your personal best in dealing with water scarcity and livestock genetics to the UK and its vast European hinterland. Mark Cooper and his staff worked with Ranissah who helped with their meetings, often attending and giving her perceptions on their conclusions.

In Japan, he continued, our trade officer spoke Japanese and his observations on meetings were critical. “They even had pre-printed business cards in Japanese waiting for us on arrival,” says Cooper.

Saskatchewan is the second-most attractive jurisdiction for mining in the world. Kyle Procyshyn in the UAE can tell you all about it. So can Victor Lee in India and Winston Kan in Shanghai. The critical minerals we can provide are the key to clean energy technologies like electric cars, portable electronics, and wind turbines.

The world is getting to know us, and the trade offices are making sure of that. Promoting, educating, marketing our strengths and to get you and your products to the finish-line. Get the conversation going with the trade office best suited to you. They can tell you all about the fine print. The door is wide open. Don’t wait on the sidelines, Saskatchewan.