The agriculture and food industry in Alberta is export-oriented. Alberta is the third largest exporter of primary and processed agricultural and food products (agri-food) in Canada. In 2015, Alberta’s top export markets for agri-food products were the United States, China, Japan, Mexico and South Korea. Exports to these five countries were worth $7.5 billion, representing almost three-quarters of Alberta’s total agri-food exports.
The United States (US) continues to be Alberta’s largest trading partner, accounting for 39.3 per cent of the total agri-food exports. In 2015, exports to this market were almost $4.0 billion. Exports to China, Alberta’s second largest market in 2015, grew 19.5 per cent to $1.6 billion. Exports to Japan, Alberta’s third largest market, fell for the third year in a row, down 8.1 per cent to $1.1 billion in 2015. Lower exports of canola seed, wheat, barley and beef, contributed to the decline. Exports to Mexico, Alberta’s fourth largest market, rose 6.6 per cent to $572 million in 2015. Exports to South Korea, Alberta’s fifth largest export market, grew by 2.1 per cent to $233 million in 2015.
Highlight – South Korea
Alberta’s agricultural and agri-food products sector employed over 75,000 people in 2012, and is a significant driver of economic activity in the province.
Alberta’s agricultural exports to South Korea were worth an annual average of $205.7 million from 2010 to 2012, led by wheat, pork, canola oil, un-roasted barley malt and tallow. Under the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement, Alberta will benefit from expanding exports of these and a wide variety of other products, including beef. Canadian agricultural exports to South Korea currently face high tariff rates, which averaged 52.7 percent in 2012.
The Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement will eliminate tariffs on 86.8 percent of agricultural tariff lines. This duty-free access will give Canadian agricultural products, including wheat, beef and pork, preferential access to the South Korean market and will create a level playing field on which Canadian producers can compete with South Korea’s current free trade agreement partners.
For example, South Korean tariffs will be eliminated on:
- wheat, from a current rate of up to 3 percent;
- pork and most processed pork products, from a current rate of up to 30 percent;
- beef and most processed beef products, from a current rate of up to 72 percent;
- refined and crude canola oil, from a current rate of 5 percent;
- beef fats/tallow, from a current rate of 8 percent;
- un-roasted barley malt, from a current rate of up to 269 percent;
- wheat flour, from a current rate of 4.2 percent; and certain bakery products, from a current rate of 8 percent.