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Redford to advocate in China for Alberta's petroleum industry

Alberta Premier Alison Redford will embark on her third trade mission to China in September.

EMMA BENNETT/The Canadian Press

Alberta Premier Alison Redford will once again travel to China to advocate on behalf of the province's oil and gas industry.

Ms. Redford will visit cities including Beijing, Hong Kong and Dalian with 15 small and medium-sized businesses, economic development associations, and University of Calgary and the University of Alberta presidents from Sept. 6-18. Ms. Redford's office is linking the trade mission to June's disastrous floods, saying a stronger economy – and more international trade – means the province will have more resources available to pay for flood reconstruction and improved infrastructure.

"Opening new markets is a key part of our Building Alberta Plan, and in the face of the worst flooding in our history, we will continue to pursue increased trade and investment that will create jobs and more opportunities for all Albertans," Ms. Redford said in a news release on Wednesday.

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This is Ms. Redford's third trade mission to China. She made a brief trip there in June 2012, and also travelled with other Canadian premiers to China last September, although she cut that trade mission short to attend the funeral of former Alberta premier Peter Lougheed.

With U.S. oil production increasing, finding new investment and markets for Alberta's mammoth oil and natural gas reserves has been a priority for the province's Progressive Conservative government. However, proposed projects to bring Alberta bitumen to the West Coast – such as Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline – face stiff opposition in British Columbia, and the question of how to transport oil to Asian markets has emerged as a key issue.

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