Alberta’s international customers part 1 of 4
For every $10 of goods we sold to other countries last year, $9 went to the US
By Rob Roach, ATB Economics 2 June 2022 1 min read
With the trajectory of global trade being called into question by protectionism, supply chain disruptions and war, this four-part series is focused on Alberta’s international exports.
Like many other economies around the world, Alberta relies heavily on sales to international customers with exports equal to over a third of our annual output. Without foreign buyers, we would be stuck with a whole lot of, among other things, crude oil, wheat and particle board we couldn’t use.
With this in mind, the next four editions of The Owl answer three key questions about our largest international customers: How big of a customer are they? Have our exports to them been going up or down? What are the main things we sell them? The fourth installment will look at how we stack up against the other provinces.
Let’s start with the elephant in the room.
The United States is Alberta’s largest customer. It’s not even close. For every $10 of goods we sold to other countries last year, $9 (88.6%) went to the US. This works out to $122.7 billion flowing into the Alberta economy.
Sales to the U.S. have gone up. Alberta’s merchandise exports to the US grew by 79.7% ($54.4 billion) between 2010 and 2021 compared to 42.3% to all other countries.
We sell our American cousins a lot of different products, but the top two—crude oil and natural gas—dwarf everything else. In 2021, sales of these two products to American buyers came to $93.1 billion and represented three quarters of Alberta’s exports to the US.
Answer to the previous trivia question: The original head office building for the Bank of Canada was completed in 1938.
Today’s trivia question: How many chapters does the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (a.k.a. Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement) have?