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These are harrowing days for Canadian exporters. With NAFTA in question, our heavy reliance on trade with the US puts us in a tricky spot. Fortunately, there are many other trading nations—and one with which Alberta has a great relationship is still eager to do business.
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ATB Financial's Economics & Research Team February 3, 2017
Look to the Land of the Rising Sun for increased trade?
These are harrowing days for Canadian exporters. With NAFTA in question, our heavy reliance on trade with the US puts us in a tricky spot. Fortunately, there are many other trading nations—and one with which Alberta has a great relationship is still eager to do business: Japan.
 
As the third largest destination for Alberta’s foreign exports—and indeed the world’s third largest economy—Japan remains a lucrative market. With the US having pulled out of the ill-fated Trans-Pacific Partnership, which included Japan, there is little prospect for the remaining 11 countries to strike a multilateral deal on their own. Japan, however, is still keen for global dance partners.
 
Alberta’s trade with Japan eased up over the last few years but grew again in 2016. Unlike the 18 per cent drop in sales last year to the US (which is largely due to the drop in oil prices) or even the 11 per cent drop in sales to China, our exports to Japan were up 4.4 per cent last year to $1.7 billion. (These figures are based on the first 11 months of each year).
 
The reason for that is what we sell to Japan. None of it—at least not so far—is petroleum products. The top exports from Alberta to Japan are canola and canola oil, pork products, wheat, pulp, malt barley, cobalt and lumber. In other words, all of Alberta’s industries other than the petroleum sector benefit from our trade with Japan.
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