Alberta and China enter into a Cooperation Agreement

January 22, 2014

In the fourth quarter of 2013, the province of Alberta and China entered into a non-binding cooperation agreement to increase energy trade between the respective jurisdictions. The agreement explicitly acknowledges Alberta’s major role in global resource development and China’s growing need for a reliable, competitive and sustainable supply of energy.

The agreement sets forth five guiding principles intended to facilitate its successful implementation. These include:

  1. the adoption of a comprehensive approach to energy policy development, associated investment and trade, environmental and regulatory policy, as well as research, technology and information sharing;
  2. a commitment to continuous improvement in responsible energy development, including an emphasis on environmental stewardship and sustainability;
  3. the respect for intellectual property and related international standards and practices;
  4. a commitment to timely information sharing;and
  5. an acknowledgement that the industry will maintain a crucial role in the successful implementation of the agreement.

In an effort to operationalize the agreement, the participants have agreed to collaborate in the formalization of a framework that ensures direct dialogue between the participants as well as relevant stakeholders. In doing so, the participants aim to develop policy initiatives that fulfil the objectives of the agreement by facilitating partnership and business opportunities for public and private entities in Alberta and China as well as develop a joint work program in the areas of sustainable energy.

While the agreement does not impose any legally binding obligations on the participants, it is the first of its kind between the Chinese central government and a Canadian province. The agreement gives Alberta direct access to decision-makers at China’s highest levels and may prove to be a critical step towards increasing trade with the world’s largest growing economy.

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