Alberta Premier Rachel Notley to travel to Washington to promote trade

Premier Rachel Notley held the first of four roundtable discussions with industry leaders Friday aimed at improving trade relations between Alberta and the United States.

Premier held first of four roundtable discussions with provincial industry leaders Friday

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says she is planning to travel to Washington at the end of the month. (Jason Franson/Canadian Press)

Improved trade relations and job creation will be the topics of discussion when Premier Rachel Notley travels to Washington at the end of the month, she said on Friday.

"We need to engage in constructive discussions with the new [Trump] administration in order to protect this important relationship and the many good jobs it creates," she said from the McDougall Centre in Calgary.

Ahead of that trip — which is still in the initial planning stages — Notley held the first of four roundtable discussions with industry leaders Friday.

The first sit-down was with leaders in the oil and gas sector Friday morning. Notley was scheduled to meet with leaders from the agriculture and agri-foods sectors later in the day.

"What we learn from these roundtables will inform our plans going forward, specifically as they relate to upcoming discussions around trade," she said.

Details around the trip — including who will accompany the premier and who she will meet with in the U.S. capital — have yet to be worked out.

One of the main goals will be "to get in front of as many people as we can, to describe how much the relationship with Canadian business actually benefits American business."

"Because that is ... not something that is front and centre in the minds of policy makers in the U.S.," she added.

The U.S. is the province's largest trading partner, with $80.6 billion worth of exports heading south in 2015 and $19.7 billion worth of imports travelling north.

Alberta is also the largest supplier of natural gas to the U.S., exporting 4.2 billion cubic feet per day south of the border in 2015. Agriculture is another key sector, accounting for $4 billion in exports from the province to the U.S. in 2015.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is due in Washington on Monday to discuss Canadian values and jobs with U.S. President Donald Trump, as the pair meet in person for the first time.