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Trade and Prosperity – Manitoba’s Trade Opportunities in the Indo-Pacific Region

June 6, 2023

4-minute read

On May 25, The Winnipeg Chamber, alongside our core partners at the World Trade Centre Winnipeg and CentrePort Canada, welcomed Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly for a Q&A with our Board and Chamber Champions on Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy.

The Indo-Pacific is the fastest-growing region in the world. Set to be home to two-thirds of the global middle class by 2023 and account for more than half of the global economy by 2040, it poses great potential for Canadian businesses.

Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy: Manitoba’s Role

The Indo-Pacific region, consisting of 40 economies and a population exceeding four billion, generates $47.19 trillion in economic activity. It is considered the world’s fastest-growing region and is home to six of Canada’s top 13 trading partners. It is projected that by 2040, it will contribute more than half of the global economy. Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy was launched in November 2022, focusing on long-term growth, prosperity, and security. The strategy includes new initiatives and investments of almost $2.3 billion over five years. It has five interconnected strategic objectives: promoting peace, resilience, and security; expanding trade, investment, and supply-chain resilience; enhancing people-to-people ties; advancing sustainable development; and strengthening multilateral cooperation.

The Indo-Pacific region holds great significance for Manitoba’s trade landscape. The province’s top 10 export markets include Japan, Australia, Indonesia, and South Korea, Bangladesh, all of which are in the Indo-Pacific region. These countries serve as significant destinations for Manitoba’s diverse range of export products, contributing to the province’s economic growth and prosperity. Additionally, the Indo-Pacific region is a key source of imports for Manitoba. Japan, Taiwan, and Vietnam supply the province with various goods and materials, supporting Manitoba’s domestic market and industries.

The Indo-Pacific region is a significant trade partner for Manitoba and plays a crucial role in shaping its demographic landscape. The vast majority of new permanent residents in Manitoba originate from the Indo-Pacific region. Recognizing the importance of continued labour mobility from the Indo-Pacific, it becomes imperative to prioritize this aspect within Canada’s strategy for the region, strengthening people-to-people ties and contributing to Manitoba’s future economic growth.

Manitoba’s engagement with the Indo-Pacific region is marked by expanding trade opportunities, resilience in the export sector, and growing international trade relationships. As a key player in the Indo-Pacific strategy, Manitoba’s strategic location, diverse export products, and recognition of the significance of labour mobility contribute to its economic growth and prosperity. Manitoba can continue to thrive within the Indo-Pacific region by fostering stronger people-to-people ties and prioritizing labour mobility.

Fast Facts on Manitoba Trade:

  • Manitoba’s imports have steadily increased, reaching 28.5 billion in 2022, reflecting the growing demand for foreign goods (figure 1).
  • The region’s exports have grown, reaching 20.9 billion in 2022, indicating an expanding export market.
  • While Manitoba’s merchandise exports have experienced fluctuations, particularly influenced by the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the overall trend showcases an upward trajectory. Notably, the province’s farm, fishing, and intermediate food products sector have consistently contributed to its export market. However, other sectors, including energy products and various goods, have also witnessed increased exports during this period.
  • In 2022, the United States was the top export destination for Manitoba, followed by China and Japan. Other significant export markets for Manitoba in 2022 included China, Mexico, Iran, Australia, Indonesia, South Korea, Bangladesh, and Colombia. These exports contribute significantly to Manitoba’s economy and foster international trade relationships.

  • Figure 1: Manitoba’s Merchandise Trade (Source: Trade Data Online, Statistics Canada)
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