04/17/2013 01:41 EDT | Updated 06/17/2013 05:12 EDT

Saskatchewan Exports Reach Record Level, Fueled By Emerging Economies


REGINA - Exports of Saskatchewan-made products have hit record levels to push the province into fourth place when it comes to shipping goods out of the country.

Revised data from Statistics Canada says Saskatchewan exporters sold more than $32.6 billion worth of products in 2012.

"Saskatchewan is now the highest per capita exporter in the country," Premier Brad Wall boasted Wednesday.

"Saskatchewan businesses ... are responsible for us now exporting more to the world than British Columbia - not bad for a province without any ports. And we've seen in the last 10 years a tripling of our exports all over the world.

"It's not just food. A lot of it's food. It's not just fertilizer, though a lot of it's that, and it's not just hydrocarbons or oil. A lot of it's manufacturing."

About one-third of the exports in 2012 were in the form of energy - oil, gas and coal - and another one-third were food.

The top country to which Saskatchewan exports is the United States. But Wall noted that exports to China have doubled in the last five or six years. There's also been a lot of growth in shipments to other emerging economies such as Indonesia and Bangladesh.

Exports to China reached $2.5 billion last year and exports to Indonesia were pegged at $786 million.

There's a growing demand in China for Saskatchewan canola oil and canola seed, the premier said.

"As the Chinese middle class grows, their ability to have more protein in their diet and frankly different edible oils grows as well."

Saskatchewan manufacturers were proud of the numbers.

Brian Olson, founder of Power Pin, which makes drawbar hitches for farm implements, said 95 per cent of his production is exported around the world.

Olson said business has steadily grown for the company based in Fort Qu'Appelle, east of Regina.

"It's evolved and we don't know where it's going ... $9 million last year and $14 million this year. It's going to keep growing steadily," said Olson.

He added it's a thrill to see his product on farming equipment around the world.

"You have no idea what it's like to be in Florida and see our products on tractors and (when) we go to Europe, that's a rush. Of everything we've done, nothing can match the pride of (seeing) your product."

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