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Fireside Chat Recap on Export Strategies with Export Development Canada’s CEO, Mairead Lavery

In a recent fireside chat held on November 7th in Calgary, AB, Mairaed Lavery, CEO of Export Development Canada, in discussion with Brad Parry, CEO of Calgary Economic Development, delved into Canada's export landscape, emphasizing key strategies for global growth. Here's a glimpse into the key takeaways from the informative and engaging discussion:

Highlights for Ireland and Alberta:

There are currently 75 Canadian companies operating in Ireland- employing around 15,000 people. High profile names include- Couche Tard, Great West Life, Irving Oil, Air Canada, Shopify, Celestica, Brookfield Asset Management. Over 300 Irish companies active in Canada.

Bilateral goods trade between Canada and Ireland was close to $5billion CAD in 2022 Canada exported $2.6 billion in services to Ireland in 2021- around 2% of all Canadian services exports.

Ireland is already number one in the world for the share of electricity demand met by onshore wind. Irish government goals require 80% of Irish electricity to be renewable by 2030- tremendous opportunities for Canadian/ Alberta companies in this space.

Alberta leads Canada in renewable development- with nearly $4.7 billion in new projects since 2019. Tremendous opportunity for generators as Ireland tries to meet its renewable electricity 2030 goals.

1. Embracing Growth in the Pacific Region

The conversation kicked off with a recognition of the importance of Asia's consumer and middle-class growth. The emphasis was on Canada's strategic focus on the Indo-Pacific region, acknowledging the opportunities and challenges it brings.

2. Embracing ESG: Beyond Environmental Concerns

ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) was highlighted as a crucial aspect of the export strategy. Beyond environmental concerns, the discussion delved into the broader challenges and opportunities related to ESG, including Indigenous economic reconciliation, human rights, and supply chain complexities.

3. Digital Transformation for Global Presence

Digital transformation emerged as a core component of Canada's export strategy. Mairead emphasized the need for efficiency, accessibility, and simplicity, with initiatives ranging from sponsoring tariff finders for small companies to automating insurance processes.

4. Navigating the Indo-Pacific: Focus on Diverse Markets

Mairead provided insights into Canada's approach to the diverse markets within the Indo-Pacific region. While acknowledging the importance of traditional markets like China, attention was drawn to emerging opportunities in Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and others.

5. Ireland's Success: Lessons for Canada

The discussion took an interesting turn when the CEOs examined Ireland's success in trade with Canada. Despite Canada having comprehensive trade agreements, the conversation underscored the need for Canada to diversify its markets and learn from Ireland's proactive strategies.

6. Critical Considerations for the Future

EDC’s CEO concluded with reflections on critical considerations for Canada's future exports. Highlighting the importance of getting energy and trade policies right, especially as energy becomes a tripping currency of the future.

In summary, the fireside chat shed light on Canada's multifaceted approach to global exports, emphasizing the need for adaptability, digital readiness, and strategic partnerships to navigate the evolving international business landscape.

The Ireland Alberta Trade Association donated to the Veterans Food Bank of Alberta in thanks for the discussion with our members and partners.

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