Alberta’s agriculture minister travelling to Asia to seek new trade

Agriculture and Forestry Minister Oneil Carlier speaks at the Alberta legislature Monday, June 13, 2016. Tom Vernon, Global News

Alberta Agriculture Minister Oneil Carlier will spend two weeks in China and South Korea looking for trade opportunities in the two countries.

The province said the trip will focus on making deals that include food processing, agricultural products like beef, pork, grains, cooking oils, hemp, honey, beverages and livestock genetics, as well as lumber and pulp exports.

READ MORE: Alberta trade minister pushing forestry during China trip

“Canada’s ability to export our high-quality agricultural products is vital to the sustainability of our family farms,” Canadian Beef Breeds Council executive director Michael Latimer said.

“Government involvement on trade missions has directly resulted in trade deals that have had a positive impact on our agriculture economy and allowed us to maintain one of the most modern and efficient agricultural infrastructures in the world.”

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Carlier will meet with officials and industry stakeholders in Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai and the Chinese province of Heilongjang.

READ MORE: Bad harvest conditions hurting western Canadian farmers

He said the trip is part of the government’s focus to create jobs by diversifying the economy.

“There is tremendous potential for growth of our exports and business partnerships in China and South Korea where there is increasing demand for high-quality food and wood products,” Carlier said.

Alberta exports about $1.8 billion in agri-food products and over $582 million in forestry products annually to China and South Korea, according to the province.