Trade and Trade Infrastructure

The West is a trade dependent region in a trade dependent country with transportation routes that are longer than our competitors.

Policy Goal: Identify opportunities and strategies to mitigate challenges to strengthen Western Canada’s exports.

We will: 

  • Conduct research and analysis to identify Western export opportunities in the Indo-Pacific for 16 key economies by product on a province level. Agriculture and agrifood opportunities will be highlighted and advanced with governments and stakeholders. 
  • Provide Indo-Pacific strategy recommendations to advance Western Interests. 
  • Continue the China / Indo-Pacific Brief and Trade Ahead webinar series to provide targeted advice and capacity building for exporters in complex markets.
  • Monitor and analyze Canada, U.S. and Mexico trade policy activities to prepare for the review and possible renegotiation of NAFTA / CUSMA in 2026.


NAFTA Western Agenda
To identify shared interests and priorities between Canadians and Americans living in the Prairie / Mountain-West, regional surveys will be conducted using a proven methodology in collaboration with the University of Nebraska Policy Institute. The results will provide the intelligence and language to advance Western interests at the center of North American trade.

Policy Goal: Improve the West’s ability to move what we sell through the development of a National Trade Infrastructure Plan.

Trade infrastructure is critical to the West’s competitiveness to get products and people where they need to go efficiently and reliably. The Canada West Foundation, with a coalition of stakeholders proposed a framework for a long-term strategic national trade plan based on international best practices. Our report, From Shovel Ready to Shovel Worthy: The Path to a National Trade Infrastructure Plan for the Next Generation of Economic Growth was supported by Canada’s Premiers at the Council of Federation in July 2023. 

We will: 

  • Map Western Canada’s transportation infrastructure overlaid with priority industry locations, for example in critical mineral mining, to identify infrastructure strengths and weaknesses. (Report)
  • Provide lessons from the Asia Pacific Gateway and National Trade Corridors Initiatives. (Report) 
  • Support the implementation of the Trade Infrastructure Memorandum of Understanding agreed upon by the western provinces. 
  • Continue to advance a National Trade Infrastructure Plan and ensure that the West’s interests are represented in National Trade Infrastructure funding to improve the West’s export competitiveness.
  • Influence the revision of the National Trade Corridor fund to introduce prairie concerns.


Shovel Worthy 2: Moving Toward Implementation – Bridging international best practicewith past Canadian Experience

During the research for the Shovel Ready report, the Asia Pacific Gateway Initiative of 2006 and the subsequent National Corridors Initiative were often cited as Canadian success stories. However, the research identified that there was not a clear sense of why or how people thought it was successful. Shovel Worthy 2 will derive the Canadian lessons from the APGI that can be applied to the proposed long-term strategic planning process proposed in Shovel Worthy.

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