Premier to Highlight Mutual Benefits of Free Trade at Western Governors' Association Meeting
Premier Brad Wall left today for the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) Winter Meeting in Phoenix, focused on delivering a strong message that preserving free trade in North America is critical for continued economic growth and job creation on both sides of the border.
“It has been a priority of our government to work to open up new markets for Saskatchewan products and push for free trade agreements,” Wall said. “One in five jobs in our province depend on exports. We will continue to advocate for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the United States and Mexico because it is clear there are overwhelming benefits for all countries involved.
“In the United States, exports have grown, consumers have benefitted from lower prices, manufacturing is more competitive, and millions of jobs have been created. At this critical time, we need to thank our American neighbours for their friendship and remind them of the benefits of trade.”
Wall will also join the governors of Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming in signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS). Wall first discussed the issue with governors at the last Western Governors’ Association meeting in Montana. The MOU will encourage information sharing on a technology that is crucial in the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
During the meeting, Premier Wall will point out that bilateral trade between Canada and United States (U.S.) has more than tripled since the original NAFTA agreement was signed in 1989. In 2016, total cross-border bilateral trade reached close to US$635 billion, or about US$1.7 billion of goods and services crossing the border every day.
The WGA encompasses 19 states, many which have extensive cross-border trading relationships with Canadian provinces like Saskatchewan, illustrative of the integration of their respective economies. It's estimated that a minimum of nine million American jobs are dependent on open trade with Canada.
Saskatchewan exports to the U.S. were $12.8 billion in 2016, with the top products including oil, potash, canola oil, uranium, oats, wheat, cattle and oriented strand board (OSB). In return, the province imported about $7.5 billion in U.S. products, including herbicides and agricultural and industrial machinery. This multi-billion dollar trading relationship has bound together many sectors of the economy, such as manufacturing, where companies in both countries now jointly make products.
“The meeting is another chance for us to step up and make our voices known, as no two countries depend more on each other for mutual prosperity and security as ours,” Wall said. “We need to work together to protect what we have gained during the last two decades and modernize our trade relationship to ensure prosperity and opportunity for future generations.”
The WGA meeting will run December 1-2.
- WGA represents the Governors of 19 western states and three U.S. flag islands including: Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, California, Colorado, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
- Saskatchewan exports to the WGA region were valued at CA$4.9 billion in 2016 – about 38 per cent of all of Saskatchewan’s exports to the U.S. Top exports included crude oil, canola seed, potash, canola oil, OSB and live cattle.
- In 2016, Saskatchewan imports from the WGA region were valued at CA$2.7 billion. Top imports included crude oil, agriculture machinery, tractors, heavy machinery and swine.