Saskatchewan’s network of international trade and investment offices is set to double, with eight offices promoting the province as a global supplier of food, fuel and fertilizer to the world’s major financial hubs as well as its fastest-growing economies. The four new trade and investment offices in London, United Kingdom (UK); Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE); Mexico City, Mexico and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam are opening in 2021-22. These will build on Saskatchewan’s existing network of four offices in Tokyo, Japan; New Delhi, India; Shanghai, China and Singapore.
The expansion of Saskatchewan’s international offices will help the province establish a global network with regional coverage across all priority markets. This includes the UK and Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia.
“Saskatchewan has shown tremendous resilience in our economic recovery from the global COVID-19 pandemic due, in part, to the strong demand for the products we provide to the world,” said Trade and Export Development Minister Jeremy Harrison. “These offices will play a critical role as we continue working to bring Saskatchewan to the world and to bring the world to Saskatchewan.”
Each new office location provides a unique advantage to Saskatchewan. The UK is a strategic location for connectivity throughout Europe, and London is one of the largest international financial centres in the world. The Saskatchewan UK Office will provide the opportunity to seek investment and facilitate partnerships within the UK and Europe.
The UAE is Saskatchewan’s largest export market in the MENA region and has one of the highest per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rates in the world. As a hub from which to conduct its operations, the Saskatchewan UAE Office can support exporters’ access to key agricultural markets, such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
Mexico is already a well-established market for Saskatchewan’s agricultural products and is Latin America’s second-largest economy with the highest GDP per capita. There is also strong potential to enhance collaboration, partnership and joint research in other sectors. The Saskatchewan Mexico Office can facilitate access to other priority Latin American markets as an international hub. Mexico is a party to 11 Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with 46 countries, including both the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
Vietnam is a rapidly emerging economy, with one of the fastest rates of GDP growth in the region. The Saskatchewan Vietnam Office is expected to complement the Saskatchewan Singapore Office, serving several priority markets in Southeast Asia. Vietnam itself is a mature market for Canadian wheat and canola meal and there is a significant opportunity for further exports of grains, oilseeds and feed. It has a population of 95 million, of which half are under 30, and a growing middle class.
With a mandate to grow trade, attract investment, support innovation, and drive international engagement in key markets, these new international offices will play a pivotal role in helping achieve Saskatchewan’s Growth Plan. In particular, to increase the value of exports by 50 per cent; grow private capital investment to $16 billion annually by 2030; create 100,000 new jobs; and grow the number of international markets to which Saskatchewan exports more than $1 billion.
Saskatchewan is the world’s leading exporter of lentils, peas, canola, flax, oats and durum wheat. The province is also the top producer of potash in the world, a major supplier of uranium, and has further potential in diamonds, critical minerals and precious metals. Between 65 and 70 per cent of w=hat is produced in Saskatchewan is exported.
Saskatchewan is also a technology leader in crop science, vaccine and plant protein research, agricultural equipment and clean energy. These sectors have been supported by Saskatchewan’s competitive taxes and incentives, making it one of the most attractive business environments in North America.
The first four offices are already developing, maintaining and strengthening business partnerships in their markets through engagement with key in-market and Saskatchewan businesses and stakeholders. The timing is right for opening these new offices. In 2020, overall merchandise export sales in Saskatchewan were more than $30 billion, up 2.5 per cent over 2019, which includes a record $16.9 billion in agricultural exports last year.
“By prioritizing international engagement, Saskatchewan will continue to increase exports and attract investment, which will create jobs, economic growth and strong communities across our province,” Harrison said.
Saskatchewan is eager to show the world what it has to offer at the World Expo 2020 in Dubai, where the Saskatchewan UAE Office will play a pivotal role in coordinating Saskatchewan’s presence at this major international event. The Expo is being held from October 2021 to March 2022.