Alberta stands to gain plenty if the trade pact with the European Union goes through.
According to trade analyst Carlo Dade, with the Canada West Foundation, local companies are already able to increase high-end, value-added food production, to create finished products which rival those made in Europe.
“We import a fair amount of processed foods, especially at the higher end, the niche and artisinal end, from Europe,” Dade explained. “In the research that we are doing we’re seeing a growth in those types of food processors in the province.”
Dade said that’s positioning Alberta for future trade with Pacific Rim countries. He said we’re already seeing it at the incubator project in Leduc, and elsewhere
“One firm here in Calgary that started last year with eight employees, this year is up to 92,” said Dade. “I talked to a woman who started making products at home and at the height of the summer was employing seven people. We’re seeing this throughout the province.”
Dade said Canada is well positioned in future Pacific Rim negotiations, because in the EU deal Canada was able to prove its ability to hold up its end of the bargain, and that will be noticed when it comes time to talk with potential Asian partners.
“Those markets are booming, the middle classes there are growing,” said Dade. “They’re not growing in Europe so Europe’s a nice market to have but when you think about the time and the investment to grow market share it’s really important that we get into the markets around the Pacific rim, and this really helps our negotiating position.” (sj, scb)