This release was issued under a previous government.

Premier concludes successful first trip to Asia

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and JOGMEC president Keisuke Kuroki shake hands after signing a Memorandum of Understanding in Japan.

The Premier spent seven days in China and three in Japan, meeting with government and industry leaders in a range of sectors, including: energy, forestry, agriculture, clean technology, tourism, education, health innovation and advanced technologies.

“A stable and resilient economy needs a diversity of products and a diversity of markets. Asia is hungry for the world-class products and services Alberta businesses offer. When we showcase Alberta abroad we create new economic opportunities at home.”

Premier Rachel Notley

The Premier signed an agreement with the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) to work together on scientific research and technical components of oil and gas exploration, development and production.

As a Japanese crown corporation, JOGMEC invests in early-stage resource exploration projects around the world. JOGMEC has invested $1 billion in Canada and is heavily involved in Alberta’s energy sector. This includes JOGMEC’s work to commercialize Super Critical Water Cracking technology as a means to reduce emissions associated with oil sands upgrading in Alberta.

Premier Notley also announced renewed support for Alberta’s forestry industry, including $300,000 to the Canada Wood Group to help Alberta producers with access and regulatory issues in export markets and $300,000 to the Alberta Forest Products Association to increase its international promotion over the next three years.

That announcement followed a tour of the Mitsui Home Component Plant which uses an Alberta-sourced, premium-grade lumber specific to Japan called J-grade lumber, as well as other Alberta wood products used to manufacture oriented strand board.

“Canada Wood is delighted to receive this support from the Government of Alberta which will help accelerate market creation for Canadian wood products in key Asian segments."

Paul Newman, director, Canada Wood Group, Asia

“It is more important now than ever that Alberta’s forest sector diversify its markets. Support and expertise provided by Alberta’s foreign offices will help grow our markets overseas, helping to secure stable futures for the women and men who work in forestry and the communities that they live in.” 

Paul Whittaker, president and CEO, Alberta Forest Products Association

The Premier also participated in an energy and clean technology seminar that included more than 200 energy and clean technology executives and Japanese government representatives. Economic Development and Trade Minister Deron Bilous, AltaGas and the Alberta Industrial Heartland Association also presented at the roundtable.

Other activities included promoting Alberta to Japanese executives in the medical, nanotechnology and information and communication technology industries, and attending an event hosted by Canada’s Ambassador to Japan, Ian Burney. Over 90 stakeholders attended the event, and the Alberta delegation was welcomed by Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. Ltd. (JAPEX) CEO Osamu Watanabe. JAPEX’s subsidiary, Japan Canada Oil Sands, will begin production at its new Hangingstone SAGD operation this summer.

In addition to the Premier’s activities, Minister Bilous facilitated a roundtable discussion to showcase Alberta beef and pork product exports to Japan. As Alberta’s largest market for pork and third largest market for beef, Japan imported $1.2 billion of agriculture and food products from Alberta in 2016, one-third of Canada’s total. The minister also met with the president of Costco Japan and toured a Costco facility. The wholesale retailer has been a significant buyer and seller of Canadian and Alberta pork products.

On April 24, Premier Notley announced that Alberta and the Chinese province of Guangdong had become sister provinces, prior to travelling to Japan. Guangdong represents 25 per cent of China's total imports and exports and is the largest recipient of foreign direct investment in China.

This was the Premier’s first trip to Asia and it built on previous trips by Minister Bilous, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Oneil Carlier and Energy Minister Margaret McCuaig-Boyd. In November 2016, Minister Bilous led one of the largest ever missions to Asia, where he was joined by more than 80 businesses and associations with ties to Alberta. Many of the relationships formed on that trip are showing real results for Albertans today.

China and Japan are Alberta’s second- and third-largest trading partners, respectively. The province’s trade with China has tripled since 2003, while Japan represented 15.7 per cent of non-U.S. exports last year. In 2016, Alberta’s two-way trade with China and Japan totaled more than $7.4 billion, with potential for growth. Alberta is well positioned to meet the high demand for energy resources, raw materials and quality commodities created by Asia’s rapidly emerging urban middle class and modernizing economy.

Backgrounder:  Descriptive Final Itinerary



April 17-18

  • Travelled from Edmonton to Beijing

April 19

  • Met with John McCallum, Canada’s Ambassador to China
  • Briefing

April 20

  • Stakeholder meetings
  • China-Alberta Energy and Climate Change roundtable

Engaged with some 40 participants from government agencies, research institutes, universities, private enterprise. This discussion identified shared goals, opportunities and challenges in growing energy and environment sectors, as well as identifying the significant opportunities that exist to deepen commercial and technology cooperation in the energy sector. An agreement was signed with the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), through its Energy Research Institute, on behalf of the GoA whereby both sides will deepen collaboration on energy and climate change research and policy.

  • Friends of Alberta Networking reception featuring Alberta food products

Provided remarks to key in-market Alberta stakeholders, confirming Alberta’s commitment to future partnerships.

  • Met with key private and public stakeholders
  • Signing Ceremony

Premier witnessed the signings of several agreements of Alberta organizations and Chinese partners, including agreements signed by Travel Alberta, Alberta Innovates, NAIT and SAIT, TEC Edmonton, the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary.

April 21

  • Address the Canada-China Business Council

Premier Notley delivered the keynote address at a CCBC gala luncheon, involving over 200 participants from various sectors of the Alberta-China trade and investment relationship. A number of intermediaries, such as banks, law firms, associations, regional chambers, which are critical to directing Chinese investment to Canada, were present at this event.

April 22

  • Private time

April 23

  • Travelled to Guangzhou
  • Met with Canadian Consul General Rachael Bedlington

April 24

  • Stakeholder meetings
  • Guangdong stakeholder luncheon reception featuring Alberta food products

Deepened connections with key stakeholders in Guangdong.  Met with Guangdong Governor Ma Xingrui, the leader of China’s most prosperous province, to expand the relationship and seek opportunities for further cooperation and collaboration. Signed a sister-province relationship with Guangdong Province which will open many doors for Alberta companies in the years to come.

April 25

  • Travelled to Tokyo
  • Met with Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC)

Strengthened the relationship with a major player in investment in Alberta’s energy and environment sectors, including signing a forward-looking strategic partnership agreement with JOGMEC that will enhance the enterprise's existing investment in Alberta’s oil and gas sector and lead to deepened technology cooperation.

  • Met with Ian Burney, Canada’s Ambassador to Japan

April 26

  • Alberta Energy and Clean Technology seminar

Gave a speech to 200 seminar participants on Alberta’s energy and environmental policies and opportunities in these sectors, as well as showing support for Alberta’s energy sector, reinforcing that it remains a top priority for the Government of Alberta.

  • Reception with key stakeholders featuring Alberta food products

Raised the profile of Alberta energy and agri-food products in Japan by meeting with key players from both industries in Japan.

April 27

  • Alberta lumber-processing facility site tour

Announced significant support for Alberta’s forest products industry, resulting in potential for increased market diversification of the sector. Promoted Alberta forestry exports to Japan.

  • Travelled to Edmonton