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Alberta’s exports to China

Alberta’s exports to China

Posted on: 4/10/2018 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

With a trade war brewing between the United States and China, it’s useful to take a look at Alberta’s exports into the Chinese market.

As of last year, China was second on the list of the countries that buy the most merchandise from our province (the US was number one). We sold China almost $4 billion worth of goods or about four per cent of our total international exports, much less than the $87.6 billion of products we sold to the US (87 per cent of our total exports).

If we take oil and natural gas out of the picture, China accounts for 11 per cent of Alberta’s exports and the US accounts for 62 per cent. Only $101,043 worth of oil and natural gas made it from Alberta to China in 2017.

About half (51 per cent) of our exports to China are agricultural products (canola and canola oil account for about two-thirds of this). The next largest export category is ethylene glycol at 20 per cent of total sales to China. (Ethylene glycol is used in the manufacture of, for example, antifreeze and polyester.)

It remains to be seen exactly what tariffs will be imposed by China and the US and how they will affect Alberta’s exports. While higher Chinese tariffs on US soybeans could, for example, help Alberta canola producers in the short-term, the uncertainty and distortions a trade war between the world’s two largest economies will cause are not desirable.

One thing is clear. There is room to increase Alberta’s export to China as it continues to grow and flex its economic muscles.

​​​Alberta’s exports to China​​

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