April 18, 2016

STEP Celebrates 20 Years of Advancing International Trade

The Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership (STEP) turns 20 this year and is celebrating an exceptional track record of helping make our province an even stronger force in international trade.

“The past two decades have seen exponential growth in the global demand for the goods and services of Saskatchewan exporters,” Minister responsible for Trade Jeremy Harrison said.  “Our export success has come from the incredible hard work and outreach of Saskatchewan companies and from the support they received from STEP, their innovative market development organization.”

First established as an industry-government partnership, STEP has evolved into a non-profit membership-based organization whose mission is to work with Saskatchewan exporters and emerging exports to enable their commercial success.  STEP has more than 400 member companies and provides a range of trade development and market intelligence services to them.

From 1996 to 2015, Saskatchewan exports have grown to just under $32.8 billion – an increase of more than 250 per cent.  Saskatchewan is the number one per capita exporter among the provinces and is Canada’s top agri-food exporting province.  One in five Saskatchewan jobs depends on international exports.

While the United States remains Saskatchewan’s most important international market, Saskatchewan exporters have been experiencing strong growth in emerging markets such as China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Turkey.  Saskatchewan is by far Canada’s top exporter to India, with 43 per cent of our nation’s total exports to that country.

STEP members have benefitted from trade missions led by their organization and the various trade agreements Canada has signed.  The new Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Trans Pacific Partnership are expected to provide even more export opportunities for Saskatchewan producers and STEP members.

“Exporting can be challenging, yet it is critical to the growth and success of Saskatchewan business,” STEP Vice-Chair and Scoular Canada Ltd. Chief Operating Officer Anthony Kulbacki said.  “As a member of STEP, our company has received invaluable services and timely advice that has helped us market our products around the world.”

STEP will hold a number of 20th anniversary celebrations throughout the year, including on the anniversary of its August 21, 1996, launch and at its 2016 trade conference October 18-19 in Regina.