Humboldt area exporters will have a chance today to learn about the state of trade in Saskatchewan, difficulties in international engagement and promoting trade.

Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership (STEP) is visiting Humboldt as part of its efforts to reach out to exporters beyond Regina, Saskatoon, Moose Jaw and Prince Albert, president and CEO Chris Dekker said.

The Humboldt area has one of the largest collections of exporters in the province, he said.

“Not only in terms of agriculture products and commodities but also value added agriculture, and shortline agricultural machinery manufacturing and other manufacturers is quite considerable and impressive.”

Because of a small domestic market, Saskatchewan is dependant on exports, he said.

Last year saw exports increase eight per cent to $29 billion - but Indian tariffs on peas and lentils cost Saskatchewan exporters $300 million, he said.

The future is cloudy, with the United States having recently applied a tariff on steel and aluminum and Canada responding with counter tariffs set to come into full force July 1.

"We have to educate and inform our members and those that are in the export industry about what will happen if indeed the tariffs on steel and aluminum continue. That the prices for our steel will go up in the United States - but also when the counter tariffs occur, imports for the steel that are used in production will also go up, so it will have an impact on manufacturers.”

Exporters must also lobby American colleagues and distributors so they see the mutual benefit of free trade in both economies, he said.

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