Taking Your Business Abroad

Calgary Economic Development offers a number of services and resources to help you take your business abroad. The Global Business Centre acts as a conduit for Southern Alberta companies interested in accessing international markets by providing export and trade programming. 

CED Expanding Globally

Recognizing that export readiness is a continuum, Calgary Economic Development is supporting companies by offering what they need regardless of where they are on the continuum. Whether companies are simply gaining initial insight into their baseline of export readiness or needing a full assessment of trade/export gaps and opportunities in specific jurisdictions, our programming is designed to help accelerate their progress. To achieve this, we’ve partnered with key industry and government experts to support companies on their export readiness journey.

Our Export & Trade Programming includes:

  1. Export Readiness 1.0 & 2.0
  2. Country in Focus
  3. Inbound Missions / Delegations
  4. Outbound Mission Planning
  5. Aftercare

Sectors of focus:


Export Readiness 1.0


Morning session – general audience: In partnership with industry experts, the seminar delivers information on international expansion to Alberta companies. Representatives from each of the partners provide strategic insights on critical topics such as: evaluation of your company's capacity and capability; market identification, qualification and pursuit; as well as logistical considerations for companies expanding into new markets.  The session is moderated by Calgary Economic Development and presenters include Export Development Canada (EDC), Global Affairs Canada, Government of Alberta, Calgary Airport Authority, Rainmaker Global Business Development, as well as professional services firms.

Export Readiness Playbook Workshop: Delivered by Rainmaker Global Business Development, the afternoon session introduces participants to the New Market Playbook Workshop, designed to assist business leaders evaluating their company to build a plan for expansion into new markets outside of their current jurisdictions or industries. The 20-module workshop takes participants through a proven strategic analysis of their company resulting in an evaluation of export readiness and an action plan for improving their preparedness for expansion.

In the end participating companies will recognize:

  1. Key internal competencies for export success
  2. How to determine the best markets for their company
  3. What support exists to help them go to market
  4. Alternative methods to market
  5. How to determine the sustainability of a market

Export Readiness 2.0

As an extension to Export Readiness 1.0, version 2.0 takes a deeper dive into specific market readiness activities/plans. Companies looking to export will face different challenges based on “what” is being exported. Export Readiness 2.0 will address these complexities by splitting the program into two streams – Goods/Products or Services with information tailored to the specific export stream (i.e. technology vs. equipment). A portion of the program will be dedicated to helping companies identity key markets based on product or service offering.

Country in Focus

These sessions are designed to provide companies with market information and practical advice for doing business in specific regions or countries. Sessions cover an overview of the country, its economy, legal structures, sectors of particular interest to Calgarians as well as offer practical advice for companies interested in exploring the investment opportunities.  In addition to capitalizing on regions with which there are comparative trade advantages (eg. Existing or pending Free trade agreements, MOUs, etc), this programming utilizes insights from companies and industry experts to define which areas/sectors to target.  Key Countries or regions of focus:

US Japan
China ASEAN region
Mexico Middle East

Regions of Focus

United States, China, Mexico, Japan, ASEAN and the Middle East are regions that are of particular interest to businesses in Southern Alberta. These are the countries with the highest trade activity, and the areas that are expected to hold most of the export opportunities in the near future.

United States

Alberta's Exports to the U.S.
$80.5 billion (2015) (Statistics Canada)

Alberta's main exports to the U.S.
Crude oil, natural gas, plastic, machinery, organic chemicals, ethylene glycol and cattle.

Sector opportunities
Aerospace and aviation, agrifood, architecture engineering and construction, building products, environmental products and services, health and bio-industries, industrial machinery and equipment, information communication technologies, and petrochemical and refined products.

Alberta imports from U.S.
$19.8 billion (2015) (Statistics Canada)

From 2011 to 2015, direct imports from the United States into Alberta averaged $18.9 billion per year, consisting mainly of light oils, natural gas, crude petroleum oils, aircraft, and truck tractors.

Between 2011 and 2015, the U.S. accounted for 87.5 per cent of Alberta's global exports (Statistics Canada).

Relationship overview
The U.S. is Alberta’s largest trading partner, accounting for 87 per cent of Alberta’s total exports in 2015.


Alberta's exports to China
$3.4 billion (2015) (Statistics Canada)

Alberta's main exports to China
Ethylene glycerol, canola seeds and oil, chemicals, wood and wood pulp, bituminous coal, and nickel.

Sector opportunities
Agrifood, building products, education and training, energy, health bio-industries, industrial machinery and equipment, and information and communications technology.

Alberta imports from China
$2.9 billion (2015) (Statistics Canada)

From 2011 – 2015, Alberta’s direct imports from China averaged $2.8 billion, consisting mainly of machinery, computer components, iron pipes and a variety of consumer products.

Relationship overview
China is Alberta’s second largest trading partner, accounting for 27 per cent of Alberta’s non-U.S. exports in 2015 (Statistics Canada).


Alberta's exports to Japan
$1.6 billion (2015) (Statistics Canada)

Alberta's main exports to Japan
Canola seed, coal, pork, wheat and chemical woodpulp.

Sector opportunities
Agrifood, education and training, energy, health and bio-industries and information and communications technologies.

Alberta imports from Japan
$227 million (2015) (Statistics Canada)

From 2011 – 2015, direct imports to Alberta averaged $278 million per year, consisting primarily of vehicles, machinery and electronic machinery.

Japanese investment in Alberta
Concentrated in the forest products, oil sands, energy, petrochemicals, food processing and tourism sectors.

Relationship overview
Japan is a key overseas economic partner for Alberta, accounting for 15 per cent of non-US exports (Government of Alberta). Alberta also enjoys a multifaceted relationship with Japan that includes strong business ties, cultural and sports exchanges, educational initiatives, municipal twinnings, people-to-people activities, and a sister province relationship with the prefecture of Hokkaido.


Alberta's exports to Mexico
$1.0 billion (2015) (Statistics Canada)

Alberta's main exports to Mexico
Beef, canola seeds, wheat and meslin, and polyethylene.

Sector opportunities
Agrifood, energy, environmental products and services, waste and wastewater treatment, solid and hazardous waste, industrial environmental and environmental consulting services and geomatics.

Alberta imports from Mexico
Alberta imported $1.4 billion worth of goods from Mexico in 2015, principally light oil, television receivers, communication equipment, motor vehicle parts, steel pipe, and beer (Statistics Canada).

Relationship overview
Under NAFTA, Mexico has become one of Alberta’s fastest growing export markets and the province’s fourth largest trade partner, accounting for 8.1 per cent of Alberta’s non-U.S. exports in 2015.

Need more information?

Katie Findlay

Manager, Trade Development

Office Phone: (403) 221-7885


Up Next: Trade Missions

back to top subscribe