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Europe mission to focus on strengthened market access

Media Release
Government of Alberta

 Europe mission to focus on strengthened market access
Maintaining and enhancing market access for Alberta’s products and services, as well as sharing an ongoing commitment to strong, fair and transparent environmental policy, will be the key focus as two ministers embark on an advocacy, trade and investment mission to Europe.

Edmonton - January 11, 2013 - Maintaining and enhancing market access for Alberta’s products and services, as well as sharing an ongoing commitment to strong, fair and transparent environmental policy, will be the key focus as two ministers embark on an advocacy, trade and investment mission to Europe.

International and Intergovernmental Relations Minister Cal Dallas and Environment and Sustainable Resource Development Minister Diana McQueen will travel separately to targeted European capitals to share information about Alberta’s ongoing commitment to world-leading responsible energy development, while highlighting the province’s fertile and responsible investment climate.

The ministers will also meet with government representatives, business leaders and media in an effort to provide input into the proposed implementation of the European Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) that Alberta believes lacks the transparency needed to be fully effective and unfairly discriminates against oil sands crude.

“Our province has always supported the intent of the FQD and its carbon reduction targets. We are fully prepared to have our crude oil assessed against all other crudes - as long as it is on a fair and level playing field,” said Minister Dallas. “It is imperative that Alberta continues to advocate on behalf of the environmental and economic interests of Albertans and Canadians.”

EU environment ministers are expected to vote on the proposed FQD implementation this spring.

The ministers will emphasize recent resource management actions that include an unprecedented commitment to openness and transparency of energy development through an on-line oil sands information portal, a world-leading oil sands monitoring program and arm’s length governance system, a pipeline safety review, and a comprehensive land-use plan for the oil sands region.

The ministers will also speak to Alberta’s accomplishment as the first North American jurisdiction to require action by all large industry to reduce emissions, purchase offsets or pay into a clean energy technology fund.

“Alberta has been a source of unprecedented innovation - in both resource development and environmental management - and we must be at the table to ensure these facts are fully understood,” said Minister McQueen. “This mission will allow us to meet directly with key stakeholders, while ensuring that decision-makers have a comprehensive understanding of the depth - and scope - of Alberta’s environmental performance in order for them to make an informed decision concerning the Fuel Quality Directive.”

Minister Dallas will travel from January 15 - 26. He will also focus on growing Alberta’s presence in several key markets while participating in meetings with potential investors and government officials to look at new prospects for trade and economic cooperation, as it relates to advanced industries, science & technology and Alberta’s beef, pork and wheat exports.

Minister McQueen’s mission will occur between January 14 and 23. She will participate in key discussions with state officials to advance Alberta’s integrated resource management system; speak to Alberta’s innovative land-use planning system that strives to balance the economic, environmental, and social aspects of land use; and promote the province as a destination for responsible investment.

“Europe is Alberta’s third largest trading partner and second largest source of foreign direct investment into Canada,” said Minister Dallas. “It’s essential that we use every opportunity available to highlight Alberta’s leadership in clean energy technologies, investment, innovation and business, particularly in today’s competitive global market place.”

“While industry doesn’t oppose a European fuel quality policy, the rules need to apply fairly and consistently to all suppliers,” said Greg Stringham, vice-president, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. “Sound science and non-discriminatory policy that rewards transparency and ensures a level playing field is important to industry and governments.”

The ministers will each be accompanied by one staff member. The estimated cost of the mission for Minister Dallas including travel, food and accommodations is approximately $45, 500. The estimated cost of Minister McQueen’s mission is approximately $51,000.

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