It never ceases to amaze how small the world is in terms of economic trade.
It is something area farmers are perhaps most keenly aware. Since the first field was cleared and a wheat crop grown and harvested, farmers have relied on sales beyond Canadian borders. The population in this country has never been large enough to consume what farmers have the ability to grow.
With that understood, it is easy to understand while international trade deals, whether the recently negotiated United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement which replaces NAFTA, or the Agreement on Agriculture through the World Trade Organization, are important locally.
But international sales are not just the purview of farmers locally. There are many city and area businesses which look to sales abroad as part of their business model.
As an example TA Foods, a local flax processor, recently had a delegation attending a trade show in Shanghai, China, (see related story Page A1).
Much like the farmers they purchase raw flaxseed from, TA Foods sells the majority of its production outside of Canada, focusing sales on the United States and China, two countries with massive populations in comparison to the domestic Canadian one.
It obviously makes sense to look south to the United States as a trading partner for area businesses based on access, distance, and reasonable transportation options. However, there are compelling reasons a number of businesses look further abroad, most notably at present the volatility which surrounds the American presidency at this time.
China, with a growing middle class, which equates to greater disposable income, is a key market, again based on population alone.
But through the years their region has fostered trade around the world.
As examples Yorkton has hosted delegations from countries such as Ukraine, farmers looking at agriculture here with an eye to discovering what technologies they might best utilize at home.
Those technologies were often encapsulated in the farm equipment they saw in operation, and in the knowledge base farmers have access to here.
Both are things which have been exported. Farm machinery built in Yorkton has been exported from Australia to Kazakhstan and numerous countries in between.
And increasingly the export is knowledge, where expertise developed here is provided to other countries, often with a fee-for-service attached. What someone knows that they can share with others is increasingly an exportable product in high demand.
A look around our city and local region, and it is easy to see expertise that may well have value in other countries.
So the potential for exports to grow local business and stimulate the economy remain an important option, which does seem to make our world a more closely knit one in terms of business.