News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

January 30, 2009

TRADE, INVESTMENT FOCUS OF WESTERN PREMIERS' MISSION TO U.S.



The premiers of Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba will embark on a mission to the United States next week as part of ongoing efforts to promote Western Canada as an important trading partner and significant and secure supplier of energy.
 
The mission takes place Feb. 3 and 4, and will provide an opportunity for premiers to speak directly to U.S decision-makers and to the American public about the value of the trade and energy relationships between the U.S. and Western Canada. The idea for the mission was initially discussed at the Western Premiers’ Conference in May of last year.
 
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and Manitoba Premier Gary Doer will visit Chicago on Feb. 3 and head to Houston the following day where they will be joined by Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach.
 
“Western Canada is the single most important supplier of energy to the United States and our significant trading relationship is important to the future of both our economies,” Doer said. “Both Illinois and Texas are in the top 10 of U.S. states in terms of two-way trade with Manitoba. While our total trade with both states increased by more than 20 per cent in the first 11 months of 2008, it is essential we continue to promote ourselves to our key business partners, particularly during this time of economic uncertainty and change.”
 
“A large percentage of the oats that find their way onto American breakfast tables via Chicago-based Quaker Oats Company come from Saskatchewan, so does a quarter of the world’s mustard,” Wall said. “Texas is Saskatchewan’s fourth-largest partner in terms of total trade among the 50 states, 70 per cent of Saskatchewan’s 427,000 barrels of oil produced each day goes to the United States and our uranium is used to generate six per cent of the electricity used in that country. Americans need to understand how closely our economies are connected.”
 
Stelmach said he is looking to reinforce the importance of international trade during the mission.
 
“Alberta is an export-based economy, and the U.S. is our largest and most important market,” said Stelmach.  “It's vital that we continue to position the province as a secure and responsible supplier of energy as well as work with other western provinces to increase trade and investment, particularly in the life-sciences, nano-technology and aerospace sectors.”
 
While in Chicago, premiers will meet with business leaders to discuss innovation in the agriculture and life-sciences sectors. They will speak about energy to Chicago business executives at an event co-hosted by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Consulate. They will also meet with Mayor Richard Daley. The premiers’ Houston program includes a keynote address on trade, energy and the economy to a forum organized by the Greater Houston Partnership. Doer will also meet with Texas Gov. Rick Perry. 
 
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Manitoba is distributing this news release on behalf of the governments of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.