Hello world! Saskatchewan’s trade and investment offices build international connections for business

Photo by Dan Loran - Unsplash

Saskatchewan has what the world wants today—food, fuel and fertilizer are on the minds of countries around the world. There has never been a better time for Saskatchewan business, industry and institutions to engage with international buyers, investors, and research collaborators interested in what we have to offer. The province has eight international offices across the globe, building relationships and selling our province to the people who are now more than ever wanting to do business with us. Located in China, India, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and Vietnam our offices are your connection to the world’s marketplace.

Meet two of the team that are introducing Saskatchewan and all it offers to the planet.

David Anderson, Managing Director, Japan Office

David Anderson

Anderson helms Saskatchewan’s office in Tokyo, bringing all that is Saskatchewan to this dynamic, East Asian country with deep economic ties to us and serious interest in what else our province has to offer.

An eye on growth

“When it comes to Japan, Saskatchewan is all about economic security. Of G7 nations, Japan has the lowest self-sufficient ratios for food and energy at 37 per cent and 10 per cent respectively,” says Anderson. “Saskatchewan is already a major agriculture supplier to Japan, but there is room for opportunity in value-added areas. Equally of interest to Japan is Saskatchewan as a supplier of energy and critical minerals. In short, the ‘3Fs’ don’t lie—food, fuel, fertilizer.”

The team in the Japan office is focused on what they can do to generate job creation and economic growth back home, while attracting capital investment and helping Saskatchewan companies grow their export markets. “We have an important job to do in reaching the goals set out in the 2030 Growth Plan,” says Anderson. Their job is building the economy ‘at home’ while creating long-term economic relationships in Japan. “We are strategically focused on pursuing both trade and investment opportunities. We want to be able to support and celebrate Saskatchewan companies succeeding in the international market space, and international investment choosing Saskatchewan as an ideal investment destination,” says Anderson.

He points to critical minerals as an exciting bright spot for the province. “I am excited about the opportunity in the critical minerals. With Saskatchewan Research Council’s rare earth elements processing facility coming online, Saskatchewan is adding another important piece to the economic security attractiveness we are already recognized for.”

Sizing it up

Since joining team Saskatchewan in Japan, Anderson has already learned much about how Saskatchewan and Japan can work together, and what Japanese business and industry is most taken by. “The first impression [people have] after seeing our materials and listening to our presentations is that of awe with the space and the size of our agriculture capabilities. Japan has a population of 126 million people, and the geographic size of Saskatchewan can almost fit two Japans within our boundaries. Our space and agriculture capacity attracts a lot of attention.”

A touch of home

When he’s not at the office, Anderson is still connected to home through the hockey rink. “My second home is the hockey rink. With two boys representing Canada’s national sport here in Tokyo, I can definitely say there are a lot of proud dad moments,” says Anderson. “Outside of family and work, I also serve as the chair of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan, which is a lot of fun too.”

Ranissah Samah, Agent-General, United Kingdom Office

Ranissah Samah

Samah leads the office in London where she—like David Anderson—is introducing Saskatchewan to the United Kingdom and rest of Europe. A 20-year international relations veteran from the Ontario public service, Samah was looking to apply her skills in a new area when the opportunity to work for Saskatchewan abroad appeared. “I didn’t have a full appreciation of Saskatchewan’s tremendous strengths until I undertook a deep research dive, at which point I became more and more excited about this powerhouse of a province that has till now kept a low profile. Convinced of the province’s global potential, I decided to apply for the role,” she says.

Samah accepted the job in July 2021 and joined Saskatchewan last October, with the office officially launching in March 2022. Now, she’s in the heart of central London, sharing Saskatchewan and its many opportunities to interested buyers and investors from across the United Kingdom and throughout Europe.

Forces at work

“Europeans are more focused on energy and food security in light of recent events,” says Samah. “We’re not a household name, but that is changing due to many geopolitical and market forces.” Saskatchewan’s international office network is on a mission to raise Saskatchewan’s profile as a stable and safe place to do business and reliable source of goods and innovations essential to our way of life. She, like Anderson, sees the world’s desire for our food, fuel and fertilizer.

Critical thinking

There is something Saskatchewan is immediately recognized for in the United Kingdom and Europe—mining excellence. In mining circles, we are the best place in Canada and the second best globally for mining investment attractiveness, according to the 2021 Fraser Institute Annual Survey of Mining Companies and Samah sees it every day. “There is a keen interest in our mining industry — now particularly when it comes to critical minerals, and our emergence as one of a select few rare earths processors in the world. It seems everyone wants to ensure they have access to the minerals that drive technology and are vital to climate ambitions and national security.”

With the United Kingdom’s announcement of its first-ever critical minerals strategy in July, our minerals are top of mind to many across the Atlantic. “Our mining resources, innovative technology, strong position on ESG, and Indigenous engagement are putting the province on the top of the list when it comes to critical minerals,” she says.

Living history

Since her arrival in the United Kingdom, Samah has also been witness to historic events for the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. She celebrated Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee this spring, witnessed the exit of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the appointment of new Prime Minister Liz Truss, mourned the Queen’s passing in September, saw the resignation of Truss, and the appointment of another Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak in October.

“Saskatchewan offers a tremendous value proposition to our global allies, and I am thrilled to be supporting the mission to seize the opportunities together with a terrific cross-government team, and passionate partners across the province.”

“Through our international offices, we want to continue to share stories of Saskatchewan’s innovation and success with the world. We have seen significant investments into Saskatchewan in recent months, and these new offices will help us to continue the momentum and strengthen our international relationships. By taking Saskatchewan to the world and bringing the world to Saskatchewan we will create jobs, strong communities, and economic growth that works for everyone,” – Hon. Jeremy Harrison, Minister of Trade and Export Development.