The Keystone Tipping Point in Canada’s International Trade

Newton’s Third Law of Motion- “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”- is in play in Canadian International Trade, following what I would like to call the Keystone Tipping Point.

Consider some of these headlines in Canadian Media:

Canada’s trade vision shifts beyond the United States/ The Globe and Mail
Canada’s oil industry faces an urgent search for new markets/The Globe and Mail

This weekend was a traumatic one for those involved with the Keystone pipeline project. The Keystone XL pipeline that was to carry crude oil from Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico suffered a major setback that would turn the clock back by at least a year. The US State Department reckons that a decision on the project would take till end 2012 or even 2013- environmental issues being the ‘apparent’ reason.

So sans Keystone, what now? Just as water finds its own level, so will oil. Because, without the Keystone pipeline, Alberta’s oil sands have no market for their oil in the United States and will now have to look towards Asia to sell the crude. This  could be a positive or a negative outcome, depending on a variety of issues.

But one outcome of this debacle is certainly positive: This clamour and consciousness about Canada needing to look past United States and examine its trade ties with the rest of the world- not just for oil but for all its goods and services has just about started. And in my opinion, it is high time.

Canada’s export to Rest of the World- just 14%
A quick look at the graph alongside should make things crystal clear- the top 10 US export markets account for just 67% of total US exports while for Canada, just the No.1 market- the U.S. accounts for 76 % of our exports. The next four markets- Japan, Germany, the U.K. and Mexico account for another 10%  leaving a meager 14 % for the Rest of the World’s contribution to our exports! That’s sad, but true.

And it looks like the Keystone effect will act as a tipping point for Canadian industry to sit up and look at new markets, irrespective of which industry you are from.

The question on every Canadian business owner’s mind should be: Is my mindset ready to be tipped?

Published by Alex Alagappan

Brand Builder. Ally. Strategist. Ideas Champ. Founder Partner. Chief Big Rain.

One thought on “The Keystone Tipping Point in Canada’s International Trade

  1. This seems like a spiteful reaction. Why can’t you accept that the Keystone pipeline was a stupid idea and move on. The US is a handy and reliable market for things they want.

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